Visitation by Troy Prichard

Anxiously the young boy stares through the sliding glass door. Piercing the everydayness of the parking lot he has become accustomed to. A fervent almost desperate hope fuels the search for his Dad.

Tommy hasn’t seen him in over two months. For a growing boy that is a really long time. Everything has changed since then. His Mom is different; her boyfriend Rick is different, and now even the place Tommy lives is different.

But his Dad will still be the same. His chest wells up with the conviction his Dad will always be his Dad.

A car pulls into the parking lot and fills one of the vacant stalls on the far side. With a heavy heart Tommy realizes it isn’t his Dad. It’s just another car with someone else.

Tommy feels the hand on his shoulder. A gesture meant to comfort him is noticed and not even worth shrugging off. Feeling the need to reciprocate in some way without loosening his determination he asks “What time is it?”

Rick affirms “It’s still early. About ten till.”

After a moment of awkward silence Rick quietly takes a seat in the reclining chair.

Tommy smiles a secret smile as once again his heart is filled with the purpose of being the only one looking for him. This is his moment. Not Ricks and especially not his Mom’s.

A flash of a familiar color glides from the street and into the parking lot. Tommy stands almost on his tippy toe’s simultaneously his right hand tightens its grip handle of the sliding glass door.

“It’s Daddy. He’s here.

A voice from the other side of the living room says “Remember to let him in. I want to talk to him for a couple of minutes before you leave.”

Tommy didn’t want to share his Dad with his new step dad. “Mommy said you’re not supposed to talk to my Dad.”

Rick strongly insists “I said I want to talk to him.”

As his Dad gets out of his car Tommy opens the sliding glass door and he shouts “Over here Dad!”

Not a second soon enough Tommy bolts out of the doorway and into his Fathers waiting arms. Even if he wanted to Tommy couldn’t escape the scruffy beard against the side of his face and reassuring firm embrace of arms that wrap completely around him. Tommy is OK again, really OK.

A caring voice asks “Hey Buddy how have you been. I have missed you so much. Don’t ever forget that I love you everyday, no matter what your Mom or your new step dad tells you.”

Tommy blurts out “I love you to Daddy bunches and bunches and I’ve missed you too.”

As the two separate Tommy eyes beam upward meeting his father’s eyes.

Dad jokingly asks “You’re not getting any bigger are you. You know how many pairs of pants we had to get for you last year.”

Tommy glibly replies “I remember Dad. I only get taller on Tuesdays and Thursdays and stay the same the other days.”

Dad squints his eyes suspiciously as he mockingly adds “I don’t know Buddy I think your sneaking in Sundays to.”

“Nope I only grew up on Tuesdays and Thursdays just like you told me.”

“Well if you were to start growing on Sundays I got some new big boy pants waiting for you at the house.”

“Well maybe I have been growing a little on Sundays but not after lunch.”

The camaraderie enjoyed by father and son is broken up by Rick’s voice from the doorway “Marten before you guys take off I would like to talk to you for a few minutes. Would you like to come in?”

Slowly his breath is drawn away from him as his chest and arms tense up. “I don’t think that would be a good idea right about now. No matter what I say or do it all gets turned around and dumped back into my lap anyway. So thanks but no thanks.”

Rick adds “Gina isn’t here. She got called into work. So you can see our apartment and Tommy’s new bedroom.”

To Tommy’s disbelief Rick really was stealing my Dad away from us spending our time together and sharing some of it with him. Tommy’s flame of joy was flickering. And he had waited so long for this.

Dad said “I appreciate the offer but this is the first time in two months I been able to see my son and we have only three hours.”

Rick reasoned “I am trying to be neighborly here. Its bad enough being stuck in-between Gina and you. Maybe instead you would like for me to just go ahead and believe everything Gina has been saying about you without giving you the benefit of a doubt.”

Tommy in a courageous moment tugs on his Dad’s pants. As his Father leans down Tommy whispers in his ear “He’s bossy.”

“Look if you come inside you can bring him back at nine instead of seven so you won’t loose any time with him.”

Dad turned to Tommy and sternly whispered “Is there anyone besides Rick in the apartment?”

“No. There is no one else here.”

To Tommy’s dismay his Dad said “I will trade you fifteen minutes for the two hours longer visitation.”

Consumed with anguish Tommy gasps. All he has been wanting to do is get out of there and be with Dad. Now is looks like Dad is going to go inside with Rick.

“Look Buddy it’s a pretty good trade. Fifteen minute for two hours, we will be in and out here in a jiff.”

Tommy had hoped for his Dad to take his hand on the way to the car not to go back into Ricks place. Sobbing and almost ready to cry Tommy tightened his grip of his fathers hand as they walk back inside the apartment.

As Rick sits in the recliner he insists “Tommy you know where everything is at, so go ahead and show him where you live now.”

Like Daddy’s big boy Tommy fought back the urge to cry and he held out long enough to make it his bedroom. His Dad got down on his knees and held him. Between the sobs Tommy said “This… is my new bedroom.”

Dad calmly remarked “Well I like the color of the paint and it looks like you have plenty of cool toys to play with.”

“I know.”

“Where did you get the poster of airplane from?”

Still sobbing, “Grandpa got it for me. How come he gets to see me but you don’t?”

“It’s complicated Tommy. I don’t want this either but we are both stuck with it. But you know what?”


“I am doing everything I can to fix this, you believe me don’t you?”

“Yeah. I believe you Daddy.”

Taking Tommy’s favorite pillow from off the bed Dad gave the pillow a generous hug “When I am gone I want you to remember I hugged your favorite pillow, and whenever you miss me and you can hug your favorite pillow just like I did.”

“And remember you.”

“That’s right Buddy. For right now, how about we blow this popsicle stand.”


“First we have to talk to Rick then we are out of here.”

Both Father and son were quiet as they marched together out of the bedroom and into the living room.

After sitting on the couch Dad took a deep breathe “Go ahead a say what you got to say Rick, I’m listening.”

“It was Gina’s idea to keep you from Tommy not mine. You know just as well as I do. She has the legal last word. You should also know that when Gina and I first met she showed a picture of you and told me that it was a picture of Tommy’s Father. She never bothered to mention you two had been living with each other on and off for six years. Apparently I met her two weeks after she moved out to her sister’s.”

Dad tells him “I found out about you when I called her sister. She told me Gina wasn’t there and she hadn’t come back yet from spending the night over your place. So instead of hearing them three magic words “I love you” I got the new and improved version of them three magic words “I found someone.”

Rick sighs as he realized “I’m sorry you found out that way. Really I am. Gina told me she had it all worked out and it was no big deal and that you both agreed to the separation.”

Dad declared “Boy I would really like to say I am surprised by that but anymore its just pretty much anything goes I guess.”

Rick asks “So she lied to both of us then?”

Dad utters a reluctant “Yeah. Look I don’t have anything against you. I don’t know you and Honestly Rick I don’t even want to know about you. This is between Gina and me.”

“With Tommy and me stuck in the middle of you two.”

Dad agrees “Yeah pretty much. I guess.”

Rick tells him “If I had known better I would have steered clear of her. Ever since she moved in with me she drives me crazy and she won’t do anything around the house. She won’t even take of Tommy. I’m the one who gets him ready for school in the mornings and cook him dinner when I get off work. Don’t get me wrong Tommy is a wonderful boy and I wish he was mine. But she doesn’t take care of him I do. I make him do his chores like cleaning his room and help with the dishes. I’m the one who gets to be the bad guy for making sure he does what he is supposed to do around here. Tommy probably hates me with every breathe he takes, for being here instead of you. Honestly I can’t say I blame him and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.”

“Gina was always quick to point out the bad guy in any situation.”

Rick declares “I got news for you Marten she still does.”

Dad tells him “I told her that if she couldn’t take care of herself and Tommy that I would take care of Tommy and she can do what ever she wants. Instead of getting her act together she got help to take Tommy away from me first. That’s where you come in Rick.”

Rick insists “Like I said earlier Marten. It wasn’t my idea to deny visitation” Rick sadly gets up and fish’s his wallet out from his back pocket. From it he takes a piece of paper and hands it to Dad. “That’s a picture of my seven year old daughter Sandy. Thanks to her Mom I haven’t seen her in over two years. Believe me I wouldn’t keep you from Tommy.”

“Two years?”

Rick’s cell phone burst with sound as someone calls in startling and surprising everyone. Rick nervously heads down the hallway.

Tommy timidly asks if he can see the picture. Dad hands it to him. Tommy softly says “Sandy is just about the same age as me.”

“Yeah and I bet he miss’s her like I miss you.”

Without a word Tommy hands the picture to his Dad.

A few seconds later Rick enters the living room saying “That was Gina she is coming home to pick something up for her lunch break. You guys should probably beat feet out here before she gets back.”

Dad hands Rick his picture back. “Do you have my phone number?”

“No Gina even took it out of her cell phone so I couldn’t call you.”

“Would you like my phone number?”

Rick softly says “Yeah if it’s Ok to talk to you.”

My Dad chuckled as he replied “I got a feeling we are both going to have a lot to talk about.”

As my Dad writes his phone number down Rick urges “Remember to have Tommy back by nine. She’ll get off work and will be here by nine thirty.”

Heading towards the door and finally out there Tommy stops and ask Rick “Are we still going to sort clean clothes when I get back?”

Rick replies “Well I suppose I could do them myself but if you want to help I could save them for us to sort.”

Tommy nods his head in agreement. “Yeah let’s do that.”

Howdy Rowdy. My name is Troy Prichard. I am 49 years old and I live in Omaha, Nebraska. I am not published, nor do I write professionally. I do have to admit I am really twisted, but I like it this way. In the long run I will write books but for the time being I am warming up with short stories. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it.