Trilogy - Part 3
Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s wherever you find the light when all grows dark. -📖 SHORT FICTION
This is the end of the TRILOGY. If you want to read it from the beginning, click here for Part 1
Trilogy - Part 3
I. The Judge
“I don’t want any alimony or child support, your Honor. I just want out.”
“He can just barely support himself, if you want the truth,” said Ada Lee. “It’s like this, ma’am: I am a working woman and a working woman always finds work. Hansen is lazy, and a lazy man never finds work — and he makes excuses for it. He drinks too much, he runs around with other women. He goes away for days at a time. He has no sense of responsibility, your Honor – to himself, to me or to the girls. He doesn’t know what it means to be a grown-up. He can’t even keep his car running, or mow his grass. I can take care of myself and my girls, but I don’t want to keep on taking care of him, too. I have given him nine long years, and I do wish him well, but I am done with this marriage.”
The judge looked out at the observers in her court room. “Folks, now this is an example of the true pioneer spirit – a woman who faces her future with determination and confidence in her abilities. I commend you, Ms. Greer, for your nine years of trying to work it out, and I’ll grant you a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. I’ll accept your request for waiver of any alimony, however, even though you don’t request it, I am granting you $1 per month child-support. That simply means that should your children ever require financial support, in the future you can apply for a higher amount. If I waive support for your children now, you cannot sue for it in the future, so I am just looking out for you here.”
Ada Lee was glad. It had been a hard decision, one she did not take lightly. Hansen hadn’t even shown up in court today, didn’t even try to speak for himself. She walked down the steps of the courthouse, with her chin up, went straight to her truck and got out on the highway. She had to get to her afternoon shift at the Hi-Ho Diner, just like any other day.
II. Alvie Greer
His brother was driving him plumb insane.
Hansen had been sharing his brother’s disgusting motor-court apartment for about a year now. Just a temporary measure, he said. Alvie was opposite in personality from Hansen in nearly every way. True, both were hopeless when it came to keeping a steady job, and both were always broke, and both had a high degree of affection for beer, but where Hansen was slow and quiet and a complainer, Alvie was excitable and impulsive. He wasn’t stupid, exactly, but everything was always a joke to him. He couldn’t seem to communicate like a normal person.
“Hey, buddy-roe! Ya’ finally got yourself cut loose! Yer a free man now, ya’ bastard!” he slapped Hansen on the back, punched him hard in the shoulder. “Let’s get our asses on over to the Arrow and have ourselves a couple of cold Lone Stars to celebrate.” He threw Hansen’s Levi jacket at him, grabbed his phone and headed out the back door.
Hansen didn’t feel like celebrating. He’d married Ada Lee just one year after he’d dropped out of high school. He’d loved her for a long time, and now he’d lost her. And he was stuck in this pig-sty with his crazy-ass brother. None of it was his fault. She never did understand him, that’s all. He had bad luck, just couldn’t manage to get ahead. It seemed the whole world was against Hansen on that day.
He followed Alvie out the door. To hell with it, he thought, I am gonna go to get drunk.
III. A New Family
The girls were in the back bedroom giggling and ... well, just giggling.
Because that is what little girls do on a Sunday afternoon when the house is warm and summer’s coming, and they are all safe and happy. Francine and Millie, and Hannah’s little girl, Callie, were inseparable, always stuck together like fingers in a mitten. They had been taking turns singing into the little red Sony microphone, pretending they were rock stars, practicing their dance moves. And giggling.
Ada Lee was busy in the kitchen, humming under her breath, stirring a pot of chicken stew. Soda bread and a cobbler were baking in the oven, filling the room with the smell of heaven. Company was coming tonight, her neighbor, Hannah and little Callie, and their friend, Clint, from up near Hawley. Over the last two years their lives had merged in an unexpected way, they had become a sort of family. Clint had made a wish, and had magically received far more than he ever dreamed of. He had five women in his life now – Ada Lee and Hannah and the three little girls, and a wide future to look forward to. They all decided that family is family, whether it’s the one you start out with, or the one you choose along the way. And home isn’t where you’re from, it’s wherever you find the light when all grows dark.
Thanks for reading LEAVES! Subscribe for free to receive new posts every Saturday morning.