He’s hiding. Could be anywhere. Behind the couch? Maybe there in the closet. Could’ve gone outside. Dashed behind a tree. Perhaps in a cave. Might’ve driven off into the night. He was always threatening to do so. Always.
The old man poured himself another cup of coffee. There was no creamer in the house. Who forgot to replace the creamer? he asked himself out loud. He settled for it black. That’s the way his boy drank it. Dad hadn’t seen him in days. Weeks had gone by without any notice of him. Like a kid playing hide and go seek. He’s gone. The old man counted to a hundred and he took off. Leaving a job and unpaid bills behind. The Dodge was gone.
Maybe he hooked up with some woman, the old man thought. Could’ve. It’s possible. A train went by. Might’ve ditched the car and took off on a train like Dean Moriarty, he laughed. But, anyway he was hiding from the old man. This time for good.
It’d be a lie to say this wasn’t like him. This was just like him. He wanted out of that house so bad. He longed for freedom. The open road. Said he’d be happy with just a duffel bag and some clean underwear. Maybe some books. A watch his grandfather had given him. The boy didn’t need much.
Sun was coming up outside. The old man sat at the kitchen table with the radio on. Some talk station. Telling him the end of the world was coming. He hoped the boy was aware of this. You can only run so far from the hand of God. He’ll catch you.
Street lights went out as the birds began to sing. Start of a new day. Maybe this’ll be it, he thought. Never see him again. See him in the after life. The old man made sure of that when he was a kid; had him saved. No matter what he believes now his sins were washed away, he believed.
So, where was that boy? I’m going to count to a hundred and if you don’t appear I’m giving up on you, he yelled.
Nobody heard him. Nobody.