He felt the hands on his body first.  The pats.  The soft brushes.  Then he heard the breath right above his face so he decided to open his eyes...just a bit...

The face above his was enormous since it was so close.  The eyes smiling.  A big bubble of drool hanging off the left side, stretching down into a thin line, just about to touch him and then...his son squealed and buried his head in his neck laughing.  Just happy to see him.

And he was so happy to see him too.

Sean pulled his son's little body as tight into him as he could kissing him while smoothing his curls.

He looked at the time on his cellphone and noted it was 6:15am.  They had to be somewhere at 9:00am and it was going to take them an hour to get there so he had to be up and out of there no later than 7:45am so they wouldn't be late.

"Good morning.  How are you?  Did you have good dreams?"

His son gurgled happily in answer to his questions and tickles.

"C'mon...let's get going."

And he swung his legs to the floor, not having very far before they hit since he'd taken the mattresses off the frame the day his son fell off the bed and his screams freaked him out.  He figured if the bed wasn't as tall, Gavin couldn't hurt himself if he ever fell again.  

He scooped Gavin up and they hit the bathroom.  Gavin pissed through his diaper again overnight and his back was damp from urine.  He put a bit of warm water in the tub and added a squirt of liquid soap to make a few bubbles.  He put Gavin in and then sat on the toilet and handled his business while Gavin splashed around.  He then got in the tub and picked Gavin up, turned on the shower and used one hand to clean them both up.  He sat Gavin back down in the tub as he got out, dried himself, and then dried his son.  

He got them both dressed after a considerable bit of wrestling and laughing.  He dressed Gavin in a footed onesie after lotioning him up good and putting a bit of powder on him.

He made two bowls of cereal.  Frosted flakes.  His favorite.  He put Gavin's in the microwave until the flakes got soft and then he smashed it all up really good and fed his son what he had.  

"We'll get you some of that formula stuff soon buddy.  I promise."

Gavin gurgled happily and ate.  Patted his daddy's face and smiled.

He was down to 4 diapers and put two in his backpack with a few crackers,  a baby bottle filled with water, another onesie and a small hand towel.

He took the sheets off the bed and put them in the corner of the bathroom where he kept dirty clothes and straightened up their home.

And then he slung his son in his baby backpack and strapped him up on his chest facing forward.  He put the other backpack on his back, opened the front door and walked out of the apartment.


It was already hot outside as they walked to the street.  He was already sweating by time time they reached the bus stop down the street from their apartment.  The bus would take him to where he was going in 10 minutes.

The bus also cost $2 and he only had $26.

So they walked.

And he talked to his son.  Describing things they passed and Gavin kicked his lil fat legs and smiled even as his little body was so warm, so hot from the sun.  He thought about it and stopped.  Took off his backpack and got the towel out so he could dab his son down a bit.

And they walked.

They crossed a bridge and kept walking, trying to stay on the side of the street with the least bit of sun.  Trying to stay as far away from the cars where there wasn't a sidewalk to protect them.

And they walked.

He walked into the fast food restaurant exactly at 8:40 and went to the bathroom where he dampened the towel to wipe his son down and changed his onesie.  Then he used the same towel to wipe himself down and wished he'd had enough foresight to bring an extra shirt for himself because he was all wet.  But Gavin was clean and dry.  

His son was comfortable.

When they walked out of the bathroom, his son's mother was getting off a bus in front of the restaurant.  She looked tired but when she saw them she smiled with such joy, all the tiredness fell away from her face and she looked like what an 18 year old is supposed to look like.

"Hey!"  She reached immediately for the kicking Gavin and she kissed him all over his face and squealed along with him.

"Hey." He said.  Not too, too excited but happy to see her and their son together.

He grabbed a high chair and carried it over to a booth.

"You want something?" he asked her.  

He was very aware of the $26 in his pocket.

"No.  I ate something at home.  You?"

"Yeah...we ate."

She looked at him and pulled a bottle out of her backpack filled with formula and gave it to Gavin. He took his bottle and greedily started drinking it.  She took out two large cans of formula and put it on the table.

"My sister got a box of these for me.  I figured you should keep a couple cans at your house just in case you ever ran out and can't get to the store at night."

"Yeah...that's the kind I get.  Good, good.  It won't upset his stomach you know.  Cuz it's different.  Than what I get."

He knew those cans cost $30 each.

"I got some wipes and diapers in here too.  You think you can carry all that in your backpack and him too?  I mean...just in case you run out."

"Yeah...I can carry them.  It's always good to have extras.  How much time do you have?"

"I gotta get on the next bus so I can make it to class on time.  I can meet you back here at 6:00pm to pick him up and take him with me."

"When do I have to pick him back up?"

"This time tomorrow so I can go to class and then I have to work tomorrow after class."

"I can just keep him again tonight so you can get some rest."

"I know...but...I miss him.  I'll keep him."

He looked out the window.  "Cool."

"Why didn't you call me last night?"

"Did you try to call me?"


"Then you already know why.  My phone isn't working."  He noticed the restaurant employees shooting them dirty looks.

"How much is the bill?"

"Too much right now."

"I get paid..."

"I'm good.  My brother said he might can get me on at nights over at UPS so I'm going out there tomorrow while you have Gavin."

"Then what are we going to do with Gavin on the nights when I work?"

"I'm working on that too."

"Is everything okay at home?"

"Yeah...my brother stays at his girlfriend's mostly so we have the place to ourselves.  Everything good at your home?"

"My mom is still tripping but other than that..."


Gavin burped and they both looked at him and laughed.  He pulled himself up and started bouncing on his mother.  Then he turned his head and looked at his father and his little face fell.  He turned all the way around and reached out to his dad.  Sean immediately reached for his son and lifted him up over the table to hold him.  Gavin looked at him and patted his face with both hands.

Sean smiled and kissed his son.  Put his forehead on his forehead and blew softly until Gavin giggled.

And she looked down at her phone.  "I gotta go."

And they packed up and walked to the bus stop with her.

"What time does your bus come?"

"I think another one comes by in about 15 minutes."

"Okay.  It's hot so maybe yall shouldn't stand out here that long."

"Yeah...we'll go back in until the bus comes."

And then...she's gone.

And then...he's walking.  Back towards their home.  He'd make this walk twice more today because the bus costs $2 and he only has $26.

He doesn't even notice the extra weight of the formula in his backpack.  He's just so grateful for them.

So he could feed his son.



Thank you in advance.

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