Grunting and groaning, a man bends down to pick up his keys that fell out of his hands. As he bends down to pick up the keys, he stables himself, left hand on the fender of his truck, right hand fumbling for the keys. His eyes faintly focusing in and out. The man tells himself that he's ok as his hands finally grab ahold of the keys, laying on the cold winter late-night sidewalk.
He stands himself up, securely holding onto the keys as not to drop them again. He situates his hat that came loose from his head as he was bent over. He keeps his left hand on his truck. As it lightly glades across the hood of his pickup truck to his driver's door. Once there, he stops for a moment, refocusing, hiccupping, and opens the door. As he sits in his pickup truck, he slams the door closed and clicks on his seat belt.
He stares ahead down the street, his stomach expanded, bloated from the countless beers and shots that he's consumed in the short hours he spent sitting at the bar. His breathing is heavy, eyes weary as he attempts to put his keys into the ignition. After moments of jabbing the dash around the ignition with his keys, his key finally makes it into the ignition, but the keys don't turn.
As he sat looking at his hand holding the set of keys in the ignition, he looks up to the only stoplight in his town. The light is green, then changes to yellow before quickly flipping to red. He watches this happen for several cycles, and every time he sees that bright green light, he wants to go, get home, stuff his face with food, and pass out, to wake up tomorrow telling himself, everything's fine. No one got hurt. But that quick yellow to red stops him from thinking past those thoughts.
As the man sits there, watching the stoplight change colors, he thinks of the night, the fun he had. It was a simple night, an easy-going night of socializing with bar patrons, enjoying drink after drink after drink. The money he spent he tries not to think too hard on. Money buys happiness, he tells himself. What the man tries not to think about is what the money he spent tonight really should have gone towards; how money buys food, it pays the bills, it pays utilities, and it pays your rent. But there’s no time to think of that when you are out having fun. Why would you?
While he sat there pondering these thoughts. His daughter came into his mind. He missed her tonight while she was with her mother. He wished she was home. He’s thought about her all night, her laughter, her smile, and how she brought life to him. He wished now he hadn’t gone out. He knows the need to be more responsible with his money, and more importantly, his actions, but he wanted to drink, and he wanted to have fun.
Sadness and guilt started to kick in as he looked up at that stoplight once again. With the green light shining in his face, he just wanted to punch the gas pedal down and go home. Sleep the night and day away till she comes home. Forget the fact he knows he won’t remember how he got home. But just as that thought came to his mind, is as quick as that green light changed to have that red light glared down on him.
He looked to his right hand, holding those keys tightly in the ignition with his body telling him to turn the key. All while his instinct was telling him not to. Once again, the green light shining down on him, the yellow changes the light to red.
Finally, as his eyes grew wearier, he pulls his hand back. The keys dangle there as he sighs heavily. He feels like crying, holding back the tears wishing he was home. He wished he was in his bed. He wished he was better than where he was at that moment in life. Finally, a tear rolls down his cheek. He thinks of his daughter and her future. He thinks of his future, he thinks of their future together, and of her growing up and succeeding. He thinks of her future without him. He thinks about how one moment can change a life forever.
He sits there in the front seat of his truck, his hands cupped in his lap, hunched over, the keys still dangling from the ignition. The traffic light hangs over him, changing from green to red over and over, each time the traffic light filling the cab of his truck glaring at him. He no longer can hold back the tears and starts to cry deeply. He tells his daughter he’s sorry, asking for her forgiveness in the empty car seat in the back seat of the truck. He tells the world and himself he’s sorry for his actions. He hangs his head low wanting to pick himself up when he finally looks up to see that green light once again and realizes he now knows what that green light shining so bright down on his truck means. He takes the keys, removes them from the ignition, and puts them in his front pocket. He then takes out his phone from his back pocket. As he turns the phone on with tears in his eye, he sees his screen saver, a picture of his daughter, and makes a phone call.
“Hello, I need a taxi to pick me up, please. My location, I’m outside Ted’s Bar. I’ll be waiting out front. Thank you.”
As the man hung up the phone, sniffling, he steps out of the truck. He locks the door and stumbles onto the sidewalk. As he sat on the bench out front of Ted’s Bar, it began to snow.
The father looked up and saw the red light on the stoplight. He gave a smile as he felt the cool winter air and snow grace his flushed cheeks and freeze his streaks of tears. As the light turned green, a pair of headlights pulled up to the bar in front of his truck, and the father got into the back seat, he told the taxi driver his address, and the man found himself going home safely. To know he will wake up tomorrow knowing his little girl would still have her father.
Hi! Name’s Logan. I live in Boise, ID. I love to write to express my thoughts, and feelings in writing especially about my Norse background. I've never shared my work before so I am excited to do so! I hope what I share you all enjoy!