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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

For most people, Monday was the worst day of the week. For those who, “lived for the weekend,” it was a thief that robbed all the fun out of Sunday night. It was too sudden of a change from their late night weekends. For people who hated their job, it meant doing it all over again.

For me, Mondays were great because I had the day off.

I really loved my job, but I also just happened to  love my off days a little bit more. Off days gave me a chance to have some alone time, to run some errands and most importantly, get more sleep.

Though, in all honesty, off days in the town of Willock, didn’t seem to matter much. Being a cop in New York was much different than being a cop in Willock. In New York, things were much more stressful and fast-paced. There were always things going on and it could get a little overwhelming. It was a nice change to take things easy.

Usually on my off days, my productivity levels were low – they were pretty much nonexistent. However, I promised myself that I would be a better adult and try to accomplish smaller but no less important chores in life, but I was ashamed of myself when I finally crawled out of bed at 2pm.

Even my grandparents were far more active than I was. They hated the idea of me staying in bed and sleeping my life away, so it was expected to receive their dirty looks when I finally came downstairs. PapPap was sketching on the couch – he was an artist – a well accomplished artist for someone from a small town. Nana – a now retired high school math teacher – was reading a book while eating baby carrots.

“I’m going to make a quick brunch then go out to get some groceries,” I announced.  “Would either of you like anything from the store?”

“There’s a grocery list on the fridge,” Nana replied, not taking her eyes away from her book.

“Do you want me to make you anything?” I yelled from the kitchen.

“Why, thank you for your offer. I’ll have whatever you’re having,” PapPap said surprising no one. He never turned down food.

“I’m fine, dear. Thank you,” Nana said.

By the time I finished my late lunch and headed out for the grocery store, it was already a little past 3pm.

I’d decided to walk there instead of taking the car, just to be a little more active.

In between my grandparents house and the grocery store, was an elementary school and 3:15 was when they let their students out. There were a bunch of older kids happily yelling and running around. The younger kids were also yelling and running around but towards their parents. I slowed my pace to watch them. I loved watching families – family’s very important to me.

My throat clogged up as I watched a little boy in particular run up to his father with his arms stretched out in front of him. His dad caught him by the armpits and pushed him high into the air, effortlessly catching him when the boy came down. The boys mother watched from the sidelines, her hands on her hips with a small smile on her lips, she leaned into the boy in his dad’s arms and gave me a kiss. The boy reached up to his mother, without getting out of his dad’s grip, put an arm around her neck and hugged her. She leaned into him and put one arm around the child and the other around her husband and they engaged in a three way hug. I smiled softly at them and resumed my walking pace.

The first time my dad left, I was three years old, I’d be turning four in two months.

I was asleep when he left for work – which wasn’t unusual. What was unusual, was that he didn’t come back at the time he usually did. Though I noticed the time, I hadn’t noticed the missing shoes, clothes and coats. I hadn’t noticed my mother’s fake smiles and false cheeriness. I hadn’t noticed her wobbly voice when I asked her where daddy was and she said he went back home to Tokyo to help a friend who was being sued. She didn’t know when he’d be back.

My dad was my hero. Everyone saw him as a scary lawyer but I saw him as the man who saved people. I thought he was being his supercool, heroic, selfless self by flying across the world to help someone in need. I wasn’t the only one who thought he was a hero, mom did too, but at night, I would sneak up to her bedroom door and hear her cry. I’d quietly open her door to watch her cry into my dad’s pillow. Sometimes, she’d sneak into my room, lay down beside me, hold me and cry. I pretended to be asleep during those times. When my mom cried, I didn’t think he was a superhero anymore, because heroes didn’t make people cry at night.

Nana and PapPap had visited from Manitoba when I turned four. They took me to Mexico to go visit my other grandparents, but my mom didn’t go with us. She decided to stay back because she had a lot of work to do. I thought it was weird she didn’t want to go to Mexico to see her parents but my Nana and PapPap said it was okay so I believed them. When we got to Mexico, my other grandparents didn’t talk about my mom so I thought it was all ok.

I had so much fun with all of my grandparents. I was so happy to be with them that I even forgot about my dad and my mom. I only remembered them at night when I was in bed.

When Nana and PapPap brought me back home to Calgary, my dad was home.

I was really happy to see him and he was really happy to see me. I jumped into his arms and he hugged me so tightly I could barely breathe…or maybe I hugged him so tightly I could barely breathe. I couldn’t tell.

Even though dad was Nana and PapPap’s son, they didn’t hug him, they didn’t smile at him, they barely spoke to him. They only paid attention to mom and me. They only spoke to dad when they were leaving to go back to Manitoba. PapPap calmly said something to dad in Japanese and that was it. I didn’t know what he said; his voice sounded calm, his words sounded calm, but his eyes were not calm.

The second time he left, I was five. I was awake this time. I heard my dad yell at my mom that, “he couldn’t do it anymore.” He said he couldn’t live like “this” and he really tried but he couldn’t do “this” anymore. He said he loved her but this wasn’t the life for him.

I heard the entire fight. I’d heard all the mean things they said to each other but my ears stopped listening when he said he loved her but he couldn’t do it. Her. Just her. He never said he loved me.

This time, I didn’t ask where he went and mom didn’t tell me.

When he was gone, I did everything I could to make my mom happy. I would tell her about the jokes my friends at school would tell me or the funny things I did or the funny adventures the characters in the books I were reading were going on. I did everything I could, but the responses I would get were never genuine.

He came back when I was six. This time around, he came back on a weekend – on Christmas day. We were in the middle of watching a holiday movie. He came back bearing gifts, flashing them at me hoping to get a smile out of me. My mom kept hitting my shoulder and giving me looks, telling me to be nice to my father. She said it was a Christmas miracle. She said Santa listened to me and brought my dad home, but she was wrong, I didn’t ask Santa for my dad back, I asked for Lego.

I loved him because he was my dad, but I didn’t like him anymore.

The third time he left, he took mom and I with him, then left me.

We’d packed everything into boxes at our house, ready to move. They wouldn’t tell me where we were moving to and I didn’t ask. Not even when my friends at school asked.

We flew to Manitoba. I was happy because it meant I was going to see Nana and PapPap in person instead of talking on the phone with them. They always made me happy.

When we got to their house, only my suitcases were taken out of the rental car. Nana and PapPap tried to look happy and they were, but only when their eyes landed on me. When they looked at my parents, their eyes couldn’t mask the anger and hurt they felt.

“Aren’t you guys coming?” I asked them watching them sit back down in the car.

“We have to go back to the airport,” my dad said.

“Did you forget something?” I asked.

“No,” my dad answered - short.

“Be good to your Nana and PapPap, okay?” my mom said reaching her arm out from the window and stroking my cheek. “I love you,” she confessed with tears in her eyes.

“I love you, too,” I automatically said without thinking about it. She hadn’t told me she loved me for a while. The first time my dad had left, she’d stopped saying it. She only said it twice a year on special days. I said it to her all the time - twice a day – day and night.

I never saw them or spoke to them again after that. My dad’s parting words were, “later champ.” At least he’d said something before he left this time.

I love parents, but I don’t like them.

From that day onwards, my grandparents became my parents and I loved them with all my heart and they loved me with all theirs. They never stop telling me so.

We all like each other.

I’d just paid for the groceries when I got a text message. I checked to see who it was from, half expecting it to be from PapPap asking me to get him another bag of chips or something but to my surprise, it was Niska. As soon as I shoved my phone back into my pocket, I got another text alert. I quickly packed all the groceries back into the cart, ran outside, and hailed a cab. I didn’t anticipate on buying so much food, there was no way I would be able to walk back home with all the groceries.

After packing everything in the trunk with the help of the cabbie, I checked my phone to see what Niska said and noticed that the second text was from Lindsey.

Sent 4:53pm

Niska: Hi. Just reminding you of my party tonight. Hope you can still make it. : )

Sent 5:01pm

You: Niska! How could I forget? I’ll be there. See you later!

If she only knew how excited I was to spend time with her outside of work, even if a bunch of people were there as well.

Sent 4:54pm

Lindsey: Idris, hi! Are you going to Niska’s party tonight? If so, I was wondering if you’d want to go with me? 😉

Sent 5:02pm

You: Hi Lindsey! Yeah that sounds fantastic. I’m not planning on drinking since I have work early in the morning so I can pick you up.

Sent 5:02pm

Lindsey: Perfect! Would you like to come by a little earlier so we can hang out first? Maybe around 7 or so? I live on 34 Hewlaine St.

I scrunched up my eyebrows and stared at the text. I didn’t really want to hang out a bit earlier but I had no friends right now and Lindsey was offering what I hope was friendship. For now, if anything.

Sent 5:05pm

You: That’s would be cool. See you then. 

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.