He Let Go

Cones. Nothing but orange cones on the highway. Traffic backed up to Gary. Here comes the rain. Nothing is ever easy.

He went looking for him. Maybe this was his last chance to see him. Perhaps it was the last time the old man could be a dad. He’d tried throughout his life to be fair with the boy, the prodigal son, but this was the last time. The old man watched him take off in the middle of the night so many times. And,he always came back. Saying he was sorry. Begging for forgiveness. Caused his mom a heart attack. No, this was the last time.

The old man figured he headed west to Chicago. He’d found him there before so many times. Sleeping in the front seat on Clark Street. Tickets piled up on his windshield. Bottles littering the floor. McDonald’s bags on the dashboard. The boy just laying there, sweating in the Indian summer. Maybe he was hoping to be found.

The father thought about reporting the car as stolen to the Chicago police. Let them track the kid down. But, he couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t turn his son in like that. Figured the boy would never forgive him.

And, he drove all over town looking for a beat up Dodge. The old man had that car for years. Used it to get around town in. Parked it mostly out in the barn. He drove up and down Broadway, Halsted, Clark. Pulled into parking lots down by the beaches. Checked Lower Wacker, Wells, Lafayette as well. His boy was gone. Took off to see America he figured. A decision had to be made.

This Indiana farmer sat in a booth at a diner surrounded by creatures of the night; hookers wearing next to nothing, transsexuals in go-go boots and tight tops, cops seated six to a table,throwing back coffee, and dope fiends downing packets of sugar. He was sure his boy was not in the city. Probably heading out to California. He paid his bill and went out to his truck. Crossed himself and prayed for his son. Then, at that very moment, he let go.

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