So I get to meet him twice a month, every second and third Saturday, and for the first few years, we had an cop around us, always staring down the space between, a distracted me and a puzzled him, but after that I buddied the blue-shirt enough to be out of sight. When the dick Rick found out about it, he caused a ruckus, but Carol leaned on him (and maybe pretty-pansied around him too) to get him to call the lawyers off. She knows I'm harmless around him, I'm sure, and so I get to meet my son twice a month, every other Saturday, and I get to tell him how much I love him and all that stuff.
Except that I don't. I know how uncool that is. He'd go "Yuck! Dad!" and giggle, except that he's at the age where he might like it somewhere inside. So I measure out my yucky stuff and serve tin-tinny portions which he might ignore and still feel good. We talk about stuff, school, the game, nasty Steve, and he tells me about the good things the dick did, and what she did, and sometimes even questions about how I met her and so on. Sometimes he doesn't ask hard questions and I'm sure he's serving portions too, but sometimes he does and I try to answer.
We met in a fairytale Dave, I'll say, and she was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. Blue eyes, brown hair, a soft rose for a nose, and a twinkly pink prom dress. The kind of girl a guy just has to go after, even if he's never done it before. So what happened, he'll inevitably ask, sometimes with a sigh, and I'll say that fairytales never last forever buddy, and he holds his breath waiting for more, even though he knows that's all the answer he's going to get. I always tell him though that it wasn't her fault, it was all mine, and I'm really lucky that I'm getting to see him. Then sometimes he asks something more difficult, and I have to lie and say gently, I'm a different person now Dave, and no I don't love your mom anymore.
And when I leave, I'll tell him things like big Steve is a wimp, all bullies are, and to never stoop to his level, or crappy things like keep your grades up, or behave, things he expects me to say.
And then I go home after those three hours and I sit in my chair and try so, so hard to be sober, and I always goddamn remember those days, oh god, Carol, and sometimes I cry, and I sometimes I don't but I get drunk most always and sleep it off and on and off until my next three hour nirvana for which I've got to be sober again.
Sometimes when the booze wears off and I'm dry, and I'm thirsty and I'll do anything for a bottle, I try to remember what Dave felt like when I hugged him, what holding a real woman felt like, like soft curls of hair and the smell of them, and their eyes and how they laugh for me, and I try to get myself tidied up. Anonymous, here I come! But that rarely lasts a weak day, and I'm so humbled and grateful and so relieved when finally somebody comes for me and my fucking expertise and if my hands are shivering badly, they give me an 'advance', and I listen to old men and pretty women tell their tales and I draw some fucking faces and sometimes the same blue-cop who's with me when I go meet Dave is the one who gives me the money. Sometimes he tries to get me to clean up my act, and stuff like that, but I hem and hew and finally he gives me the green stuff and I'm relieved for I can finally get drunk, drunk, oh god, sweet drunk and get everything out - even the day I... pushed Carol out, and forget everything.
And sometimes, like the day just before I get to meet him, when I'm sober and sane enough to remember those things, and I have to stay sober, I head up over to the Dale to buy him something he'd like. I don't have much money so oftentimes its just a card or something stupid like that, and something they won't object to, and then I pass my old office which had for a while a sign saying 'For sale' on it, but now it's a part of some crappy advertising firm and I stand and stare at it and remember some dreams, some dreams that I shared with a girl with a twinkly pink prom dress and then it's all I can do not to go after a bottle again, because I do get to see my boy you see, and twice a month, every other Saturday.
The dick comes to drop him off. We've had words before so he stays a while away from me and talks some big talk to the cop, all the while Dave is waiting in the car for me and then the dick says something and Dave gets off and walks slowly to my side and the dick nods at him and drives off and its me and my son and our talk for some three pretty hours.
But this Saturday, it was Carol who dropped Dave off. And I was there, trying not to stare, but she didn't follow the dick's routine. She got out with Dave and hesitated at something he asked, and then she walked with him to me. God help me, I couldn't keep my eyes anywhere so I kept staring at the ground until I heard her voice.
Honey, she said, and my heart missed a fucking beat, except that's not quite what she said, just what my ears heard, what she said was more a plain, vaporous 'Steve'.