Alaska Part 3
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Rodger was sitting in his small two-bedroom trailer that he had been renting ever since his return from Alaska. Though it took a lot more maintenance than he was used to in order to keep it going, he was grateful: “shelter is shelter” he sighed to himself.He had been divorced for almost a year now, and in all this time he had not gone on a single date or even entertained another woman. The last time he had sex was with his wife, the day after he began to live the dream that would become a nightmare.Another tear dripped down from his cheek, yet he ignored it. He had ignored them all for a very long time because the idea of sitting around and wallowing in self-pity was not something he could fathom. This didn’t necessarily mean he was starting to get over it, it meant something far more insidious: as he had never come to terms with what had happened in Alaska.He blamed himself and pondered if this was some sort of karma that he was being served. Could it be the fact he was saving his money behind his wife’s back that was the reason for all of this? In his mind, he could see that as being too selfish, and the reason karma reared its ugly head and struck him down. All that saving, and now he had nothing.”Another day with nothing to do”, thought Rodger, as he got up from the sofa to make a bite to eat after failing three times before. What stopped him from fixing himself something to eat wasn’t due to a lack of appetite, it was because he didn’t want to clean up after himself. It didn’t seem like it would be worth the trouble. Nothing he did for himself seemed worth the trouble, that was the problem.In the divorce, the home was sold. They split the check clean down the middle. Yet Rodger still hadn’t cashed his – It was hidden in a safe under his bed, neatly cut into the floor of the trailer house.Rodger pulled a beer out of the refrigerator and popped the top off as he heard a car pull up to his mobile home. He sat in one of the only two chairs that were in the trailer, anticipating the knock.He knew who it was before they had a chance to. It was both his kids, Jesse and Lorie. Jesse was twenty-one years old now, while Lora was a year younger, at twenty. Both were great kids and were presently working their way through college.“It’s open!” Rodger called out before they made it to the door. Knowing that the thin walls would allow the kids to hear him easily.The door swung open, and in unison, Jesse and Lorie called out “hey dad” very demurely, as the state of their father left a lot to be desired.Rodger sat back in his chair. He had aged probably ten years in the last eighteen months alone. His hair which was at one time strawberry blond was now a gloomy grey. His shaggy beard was the same, with no signs of the red his beard used to be full of.Rodger had sad eyes now, the kind that were devoid of any hope or even wanting. His body language gave off the signals that he was waiting to die. The trailer smelled of alcohol and dry rot, reflecting the suffocating abyss he had created for himself.Though Rodger had somehow held down his job, he didn’t look like he had anything to show for it. The trailer only had one chair and a small sofa in the front room. The dining room table consisted of a small round table and one chair with the arm broken off, rendering it almost useless.Inside the cabinets, his children knew that they would only find ramen noodles, and maybe a loaf of old bread at best. The last time they were there, they threw away the bread that was there as it was full of mold.Seeing her father in such a defeated state had torn Lorie’s heart out of her chest. She had never quite felt such visceral pain. She didn’t want to sit on the sofa across from him, so, she sat on his lap instead before giving him a quick peck and holding him lovingly for what seemed a long time for Rodger.She had shed many tears over the last year, holding her defeated father in her arms like she was his parent. She loved him like all little girls love their fathers, and even though she was grown up now and going to college, their relationship was still going strong as ever. Before the trip to Alaska, people had often commented on how wonderful it was to see them together. Their relationship could make many a father and daughter jealous. She finally jumped up and pulled her dad to his feet. Rodger then shook Jesse’s hand and gave him a nice fatherly hug.In the course of all this, Rodger hadn’t managed to smile even once. Only if you knew him well enough and were watching him closely enough, could you see the emotions he let slip when he embraced his daughter.They got comfortable in the room before Rodger spoke.“The rules still apply!” he demanded. “No Dad, they don’t!!”Lorie rose to employ her will over her strong father’s. Rodger didn’t know what to do. Lorie had never defied him. She had always honored him in every way, even when he was wrong and knew it. She would never stand up to him like she had just done unless she felt she had good reason.“Lorie!”“Dad, sit your ass down and just shut up. You look like shit. You’re miserable and so is mom. Now shut up and get the cotton out your ears and stuff it in your mouth. Now if you can’t do it, Jesse will!”There were two facts at work here; first, Jesse could easily do it. He stood at six feet, two inches, weighed 250 lbs – and was on the football squad in college. Rodger had lost twenty-five pounds and looked sickly.Jesse laughed, before blurting out “I won’t hurt you, Dad. I never will. But we ain’t been talking about this for too long now. We is gonna talk, and we is gonna do Ümraniye Escort it NOW.”“Son, please. What happened in Alaska is really not something you wish to hear. You need to stay out of it. Neither one of us will stop loving you”, exclaimed Rodger, as if he were talking to a two-year-old.“We know already what happened. Mom had an affair and got pregnant. The only thing is…”Rodger jumped to his feet and shouted out “GOT PREGNANT?”“Yeah, Dad. Maybe you ought to talk to her once in a while. Then you will find things out, like the fact that you have another daughter.”Rodger was ready to scream until his skin burned off from his blood boiling. But he held his temper back, and wondered which one of the five men had knocked her up. He knew they all went bareback and not a single one of them used a condom. He wasn’t afraid of STDs, but by God, pregnancy was never on his radar.“Well, I am sure she will find out which one of them got her pregnant and will sue him for child support. He certainly deserves it.”“Which one?” jumped Lorie. “What the fuck? Dad no, don’t you dare say that about mom.”After a few moments, Rodger thought about what to say. “I told you both. You do not want to know what happened in Alaska.”He got up, walked towards a drawer and then opened it, pulling out a zip-lock bag. He went back to sit in his chair. Then he pulled out several locks of hair from his head and put it into the bag.Handing it to his daughter, he said, “here you go Lorie, now you can find out for yourself.”Both the kids changed the topic and started to encourage Rodger to go out with them for dinner.It took a lot of pestering before he finally relented. He took the first shower he had taken in over a week and put on his cleanest shirt and pants to go out in. Chapter two:Dinner:Rodger got seated in a soft chair at the seafood restaurant that Jesse and Lorie had brought him to. He noticed but didn’t say anything about the two extra seats in front of him. There was nothing but emptiness in his mind as he sat and tried to engage in conversation with his kids. Somehow, nothing important seemed to be spoken.Jesse ordered for him, starting with some alligator balls. They consisted of deep-fried alligator meat with a spicy breading. He dipped them into some ranch dressing before he ate them.Having some food in his stomach for the first time in days seemed to cheer his mood up a bit. Lorie was quick to take advantage of the mood change and tried to approach the topic that was sticking in her craw for a year now.“I bet you miss your workshop with all your tools,” Lorie started.“Yeah, but I haven’t started too many projects in the last year. So far, I’ve sort of been enjoying just laying around and taking it easy.”Jesse scoffed, “my father laying around taking it slow. Give me a break… and saying you’re enjoying it, dad really?”He continued, “My father wouldn’t ever be happy unless he was rebuilding, fixing, renovating or even just building something.”Lori asked, “So why don’t you start by fixing the gutters on your mobile home?”“They don’t use gutters on a mobile home, Lorie. Not without special ordering them. They use a drip edge.” Rodger answered, completely unaware that the kids were opening him up just as they had planned.“I need to replace the T1-11 with some hardy sheets. They don’t rot as badly down here in the south like T1-11 and other sorts of siding. It’s good stuff and I have already picked up all the sheets I need along with the trim boards. Just need to get the nerve up to go…”He wanted to say “home” but the house was sold. Rodger hadn’t so much as gone into the home to pick up all his clothes. He stayed completely out of the way of everything in the house, leaving Jesse and a moving crew to load everything in a truck and tote it off to a storage shed. It had stayed there untouched for almost a year.Rodger would never admit it, not even to himself, but he was frightened to go into the storage shed because he may find something that would remind him of happier times in his past life.As he thought about what was in the shed, he felt someone pull out one of the empty chairs on the table. It was his sister Karen sitting down next to him. He smiled lovingly as he reached for the hug that she always seemed to have ready for him.They all began speaking pleasantly to one another when the waitress approached and took their drinks order.Rodger went straight for the hard stuff. No one said a word as he ordered a whisky and coke while everyone else ordered sweet tea, knowing that he was still in a lot of pain.All three of them saw how seeing his sister seemed to brighten up his mood a bit too, but nothing brightened his mood up more than when the waitress set two dozen oysters on the half shell right in front of him. They were all for him.He wasted no time tucking into the fresh oysters but kept up with the polite conversation. As he squeezed lemon juice and a few drops of hot sauce over the oysters, he noted that both Jesse and Lorie began to start getting nervous. Every time he went to ask about it, Karen would interrupt him and change the subject.He had just finished the last oyster in the second dozen when the person sat down in the seat across from Karen. Rodger looked up in disbelief at who had just sat down. It was his ex-wife. He didn’t know what to do. He felt like just getting up and walking out of the restaurant, but then the feeling of pure defeat overwhelmed him. “It’s been over a year, Dad. It is time for you two to start communicating.”“This was a bad idea, Lorie,” Rodger Ümraniye Escort Bayan spoke back with a soft tone. “Your mom doesn’t want me anymore. She is happy now.” ~~~Amanda lowered her head and blushed. She wanted to reach over and jump into Rodger’s lap then try to comfort him like she had done for all the years before. But then she remembered, that when he needed comfort the most, she wasn’t there for him. Even worse, she was with other men. She had put her loving husband in unspeakable and unimaginable pain. It was a betrayal that knew no bounds.Life didn’t suddenly get wonderful after she was served with the divorce petition. She had packed all her clothes and things then moved in with Kathy for a while. The affair that they had started the first day, had lost all its magic. Kathy would have other men come by the apartment, but Amanda soon learned that they were off-limits. Kathy became very jealous of her, believing that Amanda was trying to take her men away, so she knew she would have to move out.Amanda didn’t have a lot of places to go at that point. She moved into an apartment that she really couldn’t afford and spent the last of her ill-gotten gains to do so, but soon, the next month’s rent was due and she couldn’t find a good job.That is when she tried her newest profession.She advertised on the web and found a lot of needy men online. She also found a lot of competition. Most of the women who worked in or around New Orleans were in their mid-twenties. Amanda was in her forties. Most were under 110 lbs, while Amanda was over 150 lbs.When she finally found a client, she showed up to the hotel room he was in, and when she walked into the room, she just knew he was a cop. She managed to get away fast enough, telling him that she had the wrong room, but she never tried it again.Soon, she lost her apartment, moved into a junk heap of a trailer, and got a job waiting tables. This was around the same time she found out that she was pregnant.She got the check from the sale of the home soon after she found out. She had no insurance with her job and needed to use the funds to pay for the OBGYN checkups, vitamins, and everything else you’d expect a pregnant woman to need.By this point, Amanda was broken, emotionally and financially, and with a newborn to look after. She was forced to work so that she could eat. Fortunately, the WIC program took care of the baby’s formula. But she could only afford cloth diapers, and only one package of them.She knew what a great father Rodger had always been and wondered if he could continue to be there for her new daughter.All the things she had planned to say in the car just seemed to escape her.“Hi Rodger,” she said, as nothing else came out.Rodger nodded in acknowledgment but said nothing. The two fleeting thoughts that flashed through his brain was, how he couldn’t protect her and how she stopped talking to him altogether, betraying him further.The year was good for him though. Almost all of the anger had passed, as well as most of the pain. Now, he was just a lonely old man that didn’t seem to be worth much anymore.“Where’s Regina?” Lorie asked.Amanda spoke up, yet with her eyes still on Rodger. “I left her with a sitter, didn’t think this would be a good time for her.”“You’re probably right mom, but I was still hoping to see her.” Lorie smiled softly, with just a hint of disappointment.Rodger kept quiet but felt he should say something to put everyone at ease.“I heard you had another little girl…”The kind way Rodger had said it, made Amanda’s eyes mist up as she choked out.“Uh, yea… her name is Regina.”She wanted to say that it was the closest thing she could come up with to Rodger’s name, but she chose to leave out that little gem. The waitress was back and picked up the oyster pans, before placing all the entrees. Rodger smiled again as the waitress placed another two dozen charbroiled oysters in front of him.“I’m going to have Jesse order for me more often,” Rodger announced, trying to soften the mood and give thanks to his son for knowing him so well.The rest of the meal was pleasant. Rodger kept sneaking glances at Amanda. He would give her a shy smile each time she caught him, which was quite often as Amanda couldn’t do anything but stare at her ex-husband, ignoring the other people at the table, and even her meal. About halfway through the meal, Amanda reached over with her fork and stole one of Rodger’s oysters. She had put it in her mouth and began to chew. She smiled inwardly as she noted Rodger looking at her with a look that she so desperately missed. It was a smile of I caught you and I will make you pay she had always loved. It brought back hard yet very pleasant memories of the life they had shared before their trip to Alaska.She felt a tear start to roll down her cheeks. She thought about wiping it away, trying to hide her emotions from her man, but she decided to let it go as well as any others that came through.The tears worked on Rodger, as his heart started to open back up to the woman that had won it so many years ago. He could feel himself begin to forgive her misconduct. Even more, he wanted to take her in his arms and beg her for forgiveness. The ploy the kids had come up with to get their parents talking again was working, as Rodger felt his heart start to grow again, and his soul come back into his lifeless body.“Do you know who the father is yet?” Rodger blurted out.He didn’t mean to come across so brash, his big mouth was his biggest downfall.Everyone felt the gut punch that Rodger Escort Ümraniye placed right square in the most painful place he could have. The inhalation of breaths from the entire table could be heard throughout the entire restaurant. Around the table, everyone’s hearts were beating through their ears.Amanda knew she deserved it, every syllable of it and more. She took the punch with grace. Then she looked back up and into Rodger’s eyes. She thought about throwing her own counter-strike, but she didn’t want to cause him any more harm than she already had. He was still the only man she had ever loved. She lowered her voice in as much of a soft kind tone as she could manage.“If you want, we can go outside, and you can pound me some more… I won’t fight back.”Rodger felt her pain. After all, he knew her intimately for over twenty years. So, in a voice that matched hers he said, “no, I shouldn’t have asked.” Tension evaporated around the table, and the conversations began to start again.Amanda wanted so much to talk like she once did with him, but the thing she missed the most was how she would sit on his lap or up against him while he embraced her. Sometimes they would talk, sometimes they would just watch television, and sometimes they would listen to music, or just watch the kids grow up.Rodger took a very hands-on approach with the children and spent a lot of time with them no matter how bad his day was. Amanda wondered if they had ever seen their father angry, or sad before they returned from Alaska. She then took another opportunity to reach across the table to spear another of Rodger’s oysters. She didn’t do it because she was hungry for one, she did it to get his attention, to let him know that she forgave him for the verbal punch in the gut. No one wanted dessert, they were all full of the fine meal. The waitress brought the check, Jesse grabbed it before anyone else could and pulled his wallet out.The entire family walked out together, Amanda right next to Rodger, hoping he would reach for her hand as he had for all of the twenty-plus years they were together. She could see it flinch and believed that was because he caught himself from reaching out to her. But then, his hand opened and she fell back behind him a few inches.This was the sign that Amanda knew all too well. She knew he was looking for her hand. Amanda’s throat closed and more tears started to drip from her eyes as she took it, latching onto it like it was the only thing in the world that could keep her from floating away. As the rest of the family went off to their respective vehicles, Rodger led Amanda to her car and opened her door for her.Amanda stood between the door and the seat and turned to look at her ex-husband. With a small smile, she said “it was great to see you again Rodger.” It was all she could come up with, knowing there was so much more to speak of, she just didn’t know where to begin. Then she realized that they already had. Her heart beat an extra thump, as she realized, after all this time, the healing had finally begun. She didn’t know if she could repair her marriage or not, but right then in that moment, she had a small glimmer of hope that something could come of the meal she had just shared with her family.She didn’t slide into the car, instead she continued to gaze at her ex-husband. She could feel her heart begin to mend as they looked at each other with a wanting and passion in each of their eyes.Rodger didn’t know why he reached out for Amanda’s cheek, but he gently stroked it with his thumb.“I miss you Roj.” She spoke softly, reveling in the feel of his touch, trying to convey how sorry she was.“Yea, me too.” Roger shared but looked down to the gravel parking lot. “It is good to see you. Sure was a surprise when you showed up.”“Yea, thank you…” she softly answered.“By the way, Regina looks just like…” she stopped. Thinking that it would be far too much for him to take, if she told him that Regina looked just like Rodger, it may push him away, and more than anything else in the world she didn’t want that to happen.Rodger’s eyes flashed but for only a moment with hope, before they started to flair with anger, which quickly faded as well.“Look, I don’t want to hurt you about it. However, I am concerned whether or not you are receiving the child support that is due? I know that you sure need it right now.”Amanda fiddled her thumbs for a short moment, trying to find the words to answer his question.“I think I know who the father is Roj, but I don’t want to force him to pay me child support. I think I…” she wanted to say she had hurt him enough already, but she didn’t want to reveal the truth to Rodger. She believed it with all her heart, as Rodger was the only blond-haired blue-eyed man, she had had sex with ever. Her daughter Regina had very blond hair and blue eyes, just like Jesse, Lori, and Rodger.If she went after him for child support, it would be like rubbing salt into an open wound.“Have you done any DNA testing of the men?” Rodger asked.“You know you would have to take a test too, what if it is yours, Roj?”He took a deep cleansing breath trying to clear his thoughts. He shuddered out some incoherent noises, but nothing that made sense, before he managed an unfelt chuckle.“We both know that I couldn’t possibly be.”“Yea, you could Roj, do you want to find out for certain?”At first, Rodger wanted to balk or slap her. But after a moment or three, he smiled a smile that reached his eyes and nodded his head.“Why not?”Amanda watched all the emotions build and then leave her ex-husband’s eyes. But when he said yes, she wanted to jump for joy. She held up a finger and then turned to grab her purse out of her car. She pulled out a box.“I have a DNA test kit here. Just fill out the form and follow the instructions. They need a cheek swab. Send it off and as soon as I get the results, I will inform you.”
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