Almost Perfect

He turned the coffee on. She was still asleep. Looked out the window at the darkness. Saw red tail lights moving down the street. A truck dragging a boat. Summer had ended. Now it was time for cold mornings and warm afternoons. Carry a sweatshirt with you just in case.

Friday night high school football had started. Parents in the bleachers yelling out for their kids on the field. Students walking around the track talking about when they’re going to leave this town. A town with a gas station, a truck stop, and a McDonald’s. The Piggly Wiggly grocery store. And, the paper mill that employed half the village. Friday night football had started. And, they wouldn’t be a part of it.

He had a job at the car wash a couple of towns over. The kid was good. Strong work ethic. He jumped in and out of cars all evening long. Wiping down the interior. Washing the windows. Spraying scents of orange, lavender, spices of fall, and winter pine.

The boy made some money. Enough to put gas in the car and take his girl out on Friday nights. The rest he saved in a glass jar under his bed. Promised himself when it got full he was going to leave this town. Go off to New York City, or, Chicago, or, Los Angeles. Someplace where he could live his own life, on his terms. Follow his dreams. Fantasies that changed from day to day.

It was now autumn. Early in the morning. The coffee was brewing while she slept down the hall. He missed his son. Wondered why he left? They never heard from him again. Not a call, or, an email. A letter was never sent. He thought about tracing him down. But, the boy probably wanted to be left alone.

Kids are hard to figure out, pop whispered. Damn hard to figure out. You think they’re happy. But, they’re not, he said to himself.

Leaves were changing. Air was crisp. Perfect for a Friday night. Perfect. Almost.

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