He knew that he was named Roger after his father’s favorite baseball player, Roger Clemens. In his entire 28 years, he had never known anyone close to his age named Roger. His father was definitely not a Roger. He was a David and mother was a Kimberly. And Roger had seen neither since the age of thirteen.
Roger had not been surprised in the least when David called him at the office. Maybe a little surprised that David had been resourceful enough or cared enough to find out where he worked. Anna, Roger’s wife of seven years and mother of his children had been outraged.
Roger was not.
He had always half expected the old man to show up one day, if he lived. If Kimberly had contacted him, he would have been surprised.
But not David.
They had left him for totally different reasons.
Roger stood in the little atrium of the House of Jefferson Restaurant. He didn’t have to scan the dining room long to see the old man. He was hunched over a coffee cup, looking all of his fifty-five years. He wore exhausted dark blue Dickie work pants and shirt and had a worn out Carhartt jacket tossed on the seat beside him. But he looked steady and sober.
Roger had been concerned about that.
What if David was sick and needing care? A washed out drunk?
When it had happened David had been Dad and Kimberly was Mom. Mom kept him in a rental double on the north side of Jefferson. It was a neighborhood of run down, cheap housing left over from the 1940’s and 50’s. The whole area had been military housing for the nearby Army training grounds; but the training grounds outside of town were gone. The housing remained in the hands of small town slumlords. Their place was a two bedroom townhouse and there was not one single feature of the house that was not broken, worn out or useless, or dangerously close to it.
David lived on the opposite end of town, as far as you could go without being in farm land; in a transient trailer park. David’s place was a one bedroom dump with patched up skirting and stacked concrete blocks for front steps. It was ancient with dark paneling, leaking windows, and dripping plumbing.
Roger was shuffled back and forth between these two houses for most of his first thirteen years. And the shuffling was sporadic. Kimberly went in spurts. There were times she would force Roger on David several weekends in a row or weeks at a time in the summer. Or, months would pass with Kimberly ranting to whatever boyfriend she had at the time about the lack of child support. During those times Roger would not visit. And seemingly, David did not ask for him.
One of the many I am working on.
Be careful out there!