He stepped out and off the porch. His feet gave a familiar crunch in the snow that broke the silence of the night. He let out a breath and marveled at the water vapor. Tough times as always. He crunched his way over to the car, which unlocked and started as he reached for the handle.
The car cleaned the ice off the windshield as it pulled out of the driveway. It sped a good ten minutes along route 11-b before turning off a road near the small town of Hopkinton, just passed the old Adirondack Market. This quiet town once held him and his future. An old farm life and a pretty girl or two. Gone with time. Weird what a PhD does to ya.
The car pulled into a driveway not much later. That driveway held the old brick farmhouse his family bought and left to him. Mom always said it was haunted, some old man who decided life was better for an eternity in an unkempt brick mansion. Truth was the damn thing just had a bad draft, too many old mirrors, and a bad case of superstitious owners. He left it to Mary in the divorce. His brother always warned him “not to marry Mary she’s a scary lady”. Of course when they did marry he didn’t see just yet how scary she could be.
A little boy trotted out in a pink skirt and a backpack. Greg opened the car door for his son.

“How was your weekend, Trent?” He asked.
“Good!”
He really needed to work on getting more out of the kid. Divorce was harder on kids than on parents- and this one, this must be hell. The door closed and the car once again sped off, following the GPS and heating up the seat for the little one as he buckled his seat belt. Trent was a good kid. Loved skirts and played a mean game of Hockey for a six year old. His mother didn’t approve of either skirts or Hockey, but Greg had the custody for a reason.
“What’d you and mom do over the weekend?”
“Watched TV. Mom says that President West is going to make the gays go away.”
“I’m not sure Kanye’s kid has it in ’em. Definitely don’t think she’ll make the oval office.. Even after all that Trump stuff twenty years ago.”

He felt bad. The kid had no idea that what gay even meant, just that it was a bad thing. Didn’t make much sense for a gay kid to be brought up homophobic. Eventually he’d come to see that his mother hated him for who he was and that his father would always be there. Be a good dad, Greg- and you’ll have a good son. The car pulled into Potsdam and Greg changed the address on the display.

“Whadya say about some pizza?”
“YESH PLEASE!”

The car parked outside of Sergi’s and the two of them walked in. He had already ordered before leaving to pick up the boy, so when they were in and out of the snow he tapped his phone against the register, grabbed his pizza and waved goodbye to the Hazelton kid making a killing at sixteen. Her parents grew up here and stayed where they liked life. She planned on doing just the same, and Greg liked that about North Country folk.
They hopped back into the car and sped off home. Inside the fire burned and the wall display turned on. He wasn’t big on TV, but he liked having a computer that took up an entire wall- good for his calculations and online lectures. It was best for cartoons and games. The two of them plopped down on the couch with their pizzas, Trent careful not to spread his legs too far apart and Greg comfortable as ever in his pants.

“Dad? Why does mom hate gay people?”

There it was. It was an odd feeling. He was somehow raising a kid in America to understand how normal he was, but simultaneously his mother shoved abuse down his throat. It was a sick kind of torture. Under the statements of the divorce he was legally bound to change the subject, but that hadn’t stopped the boy’s mother from calling Greg everything from a pedophile to a Jew-loving limp di- No, just speak the truth and let the boy grow.

“Well Trent, some people just don’t like happiness. They spend all day in their little corner filled with spite about all of the things they can’t have- and they take how they feel about themselves and say it’s everybody else’s problem.”
“Like the Grinch?”
“Just like that, kiddo.”

And with that he took a bite of pizza and together a man and his son enjoyed the toons.

___

-ABK

12018/11/27

Featured image courtesy of Adirondack Country Homes Realty.

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