David climbed the last of the stairs and moved slowly down the hallway towards their apartment. It had been a long day. He’d been working as a bus driver for 15 years now. Mostly he enjoyed his job. He liked the people. He had a group of regulars who rode his bus, and they had become like family in a way. Not that there was anything wrong with the family that he had, but it was nice to get out and get away some days.
He unlocked the door and went inside. The TV was blaring away, and he looked into the living room to see his father-in-law sitting on the couch staring out the window and not at the television.
“Hey, Barn’, “ he said, although he knew he’d get no response. “Chloe?”
“I’m here, hon.” His wife bustled out of the kitchen, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. “I was just putting the finishing touches on dinner. Rough day?” She stood on tiptoe to kiss his cheek.
“Not bad – just long,” he said. “Traffic was heavy today. There was an accident on Main. How was your day?”
“It was about the same. I finally found out where the ice cream drips on Dad’s shirts have been coming from.”
“He’s been meeting a little girl in the park. She lives in the building across the way, and she’s been bringing him ice cream.”
“She said he looked lonely sitting all alone in the park.”
“About that, maybe we shouldn’t let him wander around alone anymore,” David said, “I worry about him.”
“Me, too,” Chloe said. “I don’t let him wander around alone. I keep an eye on him, and most of the time I sit with him. I wanted to ask you about the door. I was up with him three times last night. Could we put a extra lock of some sort on the front door so he doesn’t wander outside on his own?”
“We could do that, but I don’t know if the super would be too happy about us messing with the locks. Let me ask him and see if he has any ideas. What’s for dinner?”
“Meatloaf,” she said, “Why don’t you go sit with Dad while I set the table?”
David went into the living room and sat down next to Barney on the couch.
“I hear you have a girlfriend,” he said. Barney looked at him but didn’t say anything. “Little girl? In the park? Ice cream?”
“Annelise,” Barney said.
David chuckled to hear his father-in-law speak. It had been awhile since the old man had actually spoken to him. “I’ll be darned,” he said.
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