“Another day another $500” Rick whispered.
Click, and the office lights went out. By the front door to the office in reception, the timer hand wound down and that two hour block was over. Rick’s supercharged screen blazed into his eyes. Fingers still resting on the home row keys, he closed his eyes and wished the office away. Putting himself in his living room with his twin boys, they were sitting at his sides in front of Sponge Bob. He could feel the warmth of their shoulders nestled against his ribs. He could smile again for just a moment. Before he got up eyes open, he looked into the black ante room, a shadow stood there. With one elbow resting on one hand and it’s chin in the other the shadow cocked it’s head head, listening. Blinked, and again, the narrow book case with its globe on top and pirate ship on the middle shelf stared back at him. Globy was taken by Pee Wee’s globe so he decided to call his new friend Grampa Ave which gave a homey feel. Rick walked to reception and cranked the dial over for another two hours. As he turned and looked out the conference room window behind reception he saw that the sun had set.
Again in his seat he pictured how much his boys’ faces had matured in the last year. Early that morning as he poured cold white liquid over cheerios, his boys had smiled and joked that the milkman was visiting for breakfast. How did they know what a milkman was? At seven, maybe it was just that he was the man with the milk who was usually gone before they even got up. One year had passed again, their birthday was coming up and how much their faces had changed. Not quite identical twins, his mother in law had a flair for hurtful remarks especially when she wasn’t trying, that’s what she always said about them: “Almost not completely unlike twins,” then she’d add, “Maybe the postman got one and you get the other.” And Rick would smile and mentally shovel dirt onto her coffin. But now their faces looked like a dark haired light skinned Mexican and a light haired dark skinned Swede. “I die daily,” Rick typed. Backspaced it out of his client’s marital settlement agreement.
On Facebook, he’d seen them grow up, Lydia made sure to post them for every fun thing that happened. “I’m my sons’ facebook stalker,” he whispered, “and I have an imaginary friend.” Paralyzed fingers sat on the home row keys again for minutes. Mentally comparing the faces of his Joey and Zaney he could feel his throat tighten, chin crinkled. Rick’s computer screen went cloudy, and he slowly put his face in his hands and sobbed. Feeling the tears slide down, he elbowed his laptop out of the way and rotated his palms to catch them. Darkness again. Another two hours had gone by. Wondered if he slept for two hours or if he’d not cranked it all the way around. Grampa Ave stood there elbow in one hand, chin in the other and seemed to be shaking his head side to side. Time for a break, since no work was getting done. Phone in hand, he considered calling his boys but realized it would hurt too much. Clients sometimes asked if he understood what they were going through. Occasionally he’d quote to the obvious democrats, “I feel your pain.” His favorite was when they’d throw back in his face that he’d never been divorced before and therefore couldn’t possibly know what they were feeling. Rick knew. Last mother’s day had been a work day and he’d finished at about ten feeling good at how much was accomplished, satisfied that clients’ cases were moving forward and realized he’d hadn’t even called Lydia. Moments like that made him think of the wind in his hair standing at the top of the Coronado Bay bridge.
Clearly it was worse to be Rick. Rick had to sit in his office late nights and weekends doing paperwork and research so that bastards who told him that he didn’t know how they felt could get the most amount of time with their children that they wanted. Whether it was a lot or a little. Meanwhile Rick got not one moment, and he wanted them all. Again he typed “I die daily.” For a while he shut his burning eyes and remembered singing How Great Thou Art while holding one in each arm. Zane had to be bounced but Joe had to be rocked. That made it rough when they were crying at the same time. One time his mother in law came in, sat down looking like a battered wife, and crying she said, “I, I, can’t, sleep, with, two, crying, babies, in, the, house, can’t you do something about it?” Rick had looked at her and in his most intimidating voice, he whispered over the howling, “and I can’t take three!” Teeth tight together, you could see the muscles in his jaw as he spoke. She’d moved out shortly after that. Pressing print to pdf, “I should divorce you,” he whispered. Rick stood, stretched and emailed the MSA to his client and supervisor for review.