It was shockingly healing.
Without our bodies against one another, there was a real possibility that both of us would just drown into nothingness.
Our mutual sadness was the only thing keeping us afloat.
It was odd, how two sad people could make one another breathe.
* * *
“Are you okay?” I asked, getting dressed as he sat with his hands wrapped around the edge of the mattress.
“I’m always okay,” he replied coldly.
I crawled over to him, kissing his shoulder blade. “You can talk to me, you know.”
He grimaced and shut his eyes. “I don’t talk.”
I sighed, sensing the weight of the world on Jackson’s shoulders. All I wanted to do was help him with his load, but he was completely against that. He lived in a world where he felt as if he had to carry all his baggage alone.
As I opened my lips to speak once more, Tucker walked past the doorway of the bedroom, moving slowly in the direction of the living room.
“He’s been limping,” Jackson whispered.
“Is he okay?”
He shrugged. “He’s old, blind in one eye, and can hardly get around without my help.”
“Is that why you carry him throughout town?”
“He loves the park. Even with all his issues, he loves the park.”
“I saw you swinging with him one day,” I told him. “With Tucker in your lap.”
He nodded his head and looked down at his hands, which were clasped together. “He’s a good boy. I’m just debating how selfish I’m being by keeping him around. He’s just…” He took a deep breath and turned to me. I gave him a half frown as he kept talking. “He’s all I’ve got, really.”
“Tell me more about him.” I climbed into his lap and wrapped my legs around his waist.
His lips parted, and he cringed as he placed his forehead against mine. “I don’t know how to open up to people.”
“Well, you don’t have to open up to people, just me.”
Before he could answer, his cell phone began to ring, and he released a heavy sigh as he moved me from his lap. As he answered the call, I tried my best to give him his space.
“Hey, Alex, what’s up?” he said, then paused. “Are you shitting me? No, it’s fine. I’ll be right there. No, really, it’s fine. All right, bye.”
He hung up, and the weight of the world was solidly back on his shoulders. “I gotta get going,” he said, gathering his clothes, and tossing them on.
“Is everything okay?” I questioned, standing quickly and wrapping my arms around my body.
“Yeah—well, no. My dad’s just a fucking drunk, and is causing a scene down at the shop. I just gotta go handle him.”
“Oh, well, do you want me to come with you?”
He shook his head. “No. If he saw you, he’d lose it even more. I’ll talk to you later,” he told me. “Just close the door on your way out.”
He’d lost his damn mind.
I made my way to the shop, where Alex was trying his best to contain Dad’s drunkenness. I glanced around and saw broken glass everywhere. When my eyes made it to Grace’s car, I cringed. All the windows were shattered, and the hood had marks on it that had probably come from the bat Alex was trying to pry out of Dad’s hand.
“For fuck’s sake,” I muttered, rushing over to them. “Dad, what the hell are you doing?!” I barked.
“I told you to get that shi-shit outta my shop!” he shouted, slurring heavily.
I wrapped my hands around the bat and yanked it from his grip then tossed it to aside. I didn’t even try to talk to him because I saw his level of gone in his eyes. He was seconds away from blacking out. In the morning, he wouldn’t recall a thing.
There were many problems with what he’d done to Grace’s vehicle, but the main issue was that he took his drunkenness out on more than just her car. He’d messed up all kinds of things in the shop. Each breath I took only pissed me off more as I wrapped my arms around my father and forced him to walk away. I took him to his house and tossed him into his bedroom.
He kept grumbling about the Harrises family and how much he hated them. He went on about me, how much of a pain in the ass I was in his life, and then he passed the hell out.
I went back to the shop and sighed as I looked around, resting my hands on top of my head. Alex already had a broom in hand and was sweeping up some of the shattered glass.
“Sorry I had to call you, man. It’s just…he snapped. I was working on Grace’s car when he walked in and blew up out of nowhere,” he told me.
“Yeah, well, sounds just like good ole pops to me,” I sarcastically remarked. “You don’t gotta clean it up, Alex. I got this.”