This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Lily E. Bates
By Dan Leicht
“There’s a chance you could maybe get custody a few days a month, Ted. I wouldn’t give my hopes up though if I were you. Your record certainly isn’t the best.”
“Those offenses were in my teenage years, Glecko.”
“You’re paying me enough, call me John.”
“Glecko. Do what you can. A few days a month is better than nothing, but I know she’ll be better off with me than Nancy.”
Ted left his lawyer’s office and headed back out into the parking lot. He got into his decade old truck and turned the key. The radio kicked on and played classic rock, the same band he and Nancy saw on their second date. He turned the station to talk radio until eventually just turning it off and listening to the wind pass by through the open window. Once parked out in front of his apartment he got out and noticed Ms. Filton from next door pulling her groceries from the back of her SUV.
“Ms. Filton, let me help you with those.”
“Oh, it’s you. Why thank you.”
“It’s no problem.”
“How’d it go today? You met with your lawyer right?”
“Yes, I did. It went well I think.”
Ms. Filton was in her late sixties and living alone. Her groceries usually consisted of fruit that she ended up throwing out towards the end of the month and saltine crackers. Ted had no problem carrying all the groceries at once as he followed Ms. Filton up to her apartment across the hall from his own. He placed the bags on her kitchen table and waved goodbye before heading out. Once in his own apartment he splashed water on his face from the kitchen sink and poured a glass of water. He changed into shorts and a t-shirt and put his sneakers on. After filling his water bottles and putting on his water belt he headed back out and began running towards the canal.
He lived a few miles from the canal and often would take long runs to clear his head. All throughout middle school and high school he was on the cross country team, so it just became a way for him to stay in shape over the years, granted the flat canal run was a lot easier than the courses he’d run through woods and over hills. Every now and then he’d have a fallen tree to either jump over or crouch under while trying to keep his pace, but on the canal his biggest obstacles were making it past couples and trying to keep himself together.
During his run he thought about the approaching court date. His ex-wife Nancy was shooting for full custody, but he said he’d be happy with just the weekends, or even every other. He didn’t think it would be fair to their daughter Lily to have to grow up without seeing one of her parents. Nancy didn’t feel that way, saying that it would only be important for a son to see their father. Imagining life without his four year old daughter tore at him more than any breakup ever had. There were times when he thought he would never recover from heartbreak, but he’d never known true love until the first time he looked into the face of his newborn daughter.
After getting home Ted checked his phone. He had a missed called and a voicemail from his lawyer. He listened to the message.
“Hey, Ted, I’ve got good news. Instead of going ahead with all the court proceedings Nancy has decided to give you one week a month. This is a home run! Call me if you have any questions. Congratulations, Ted.”
After listening to the message Ted sat down at his chair in the kitchen. He wiped his eyes while still trying to catch his breath from the run. He took in a long inhale and started to think about what he’d get Lily for her fifth birthday coming up this summer.