“I miss you, Daddy.” Those words, paired with her sweet voice, would be capable of bringing the most hardened of men to tears.
“I miss you too, sweetheart. But I’ll be home early tomorrow, I promise.”
“Are you being good for Mr. and Mrs. Jones?”
“Yes, Daddy. I’m being good.”
“Awesome. So, tomorrow morning, what are you going to do?”
“Go to school?”
“No, silly, tomorrow’s Saturday.”
“Oh yeah,” she laughs, “I forgot.”
“So, what are you going to do?”“I’m going to play with Julie!”
“Right, you’ll stay at the Jones’ and play with Julie until I get there. I’ve got the early flight out, so I should be there around ten, okay?”
“Alright, sweetheart. I love you. Have a good night.”
“I love you too, Daddy.”
“Can you put Mrs. Jones on for me?”
“Okay, Daddy. Tunga lunga dunga.”
“Minga munga moonga,” I laugh.
“Bert?” Laura asks.
“Hey, Laura. Just wanted to make sure we’re still good for tomorrow.”
“Of course! We’ll be here having a good ol’ time waiting for you.”
“Thanks. I should be in town by ten at the latest, as long as this storm doesn’t get any worse. If it does, I’ll–”
“Don’t worry about it, Bert. You know how much we love having Zelda over. And Julie couldn’t be happier about it. Just get here safely, that’s all that’s important.”
“I know, I just hate that I have to use you guys so often.”
“It’s tough being a single parent. We’re more than happy to help.”
“Well, thanks again.”
“How’s the weather up there?” I ask. “It doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to stop down here. The wind chill is already bringing the temps down to negative fifteen.”
“It’s not too bad here. The snow’s stopped. I’d guess the same is true in The Cities. I’m sure they’ll have plenty of time to get the runway cleared off for your arrival tomorrow.”
“They had better. I’m already unhappy about being forced to stay here an extra night. The hotel’s nice and all, but a week away from my kid is more than enough.”
“I understand. I couldn’t imagine staying away from my little Julie for that long.”
“Yeah,” I say with a sigh. “Alright, well, I’ve got an early morning tomorrow, so I had better hit the hay. Give Zelda a kiss for me.”
“Will do. Have a good night, Bert. And travel safe.”
My phone beeps stating Laura has hung up. I place it on the night stand and look across the room from my location on the bed. Only one more night.
I smile to myself as I think about how I’ll be rejoined with my sweet little girl by mid-morning and reach over to turn off the light. Just fourteen hours left, I count as I close my eyes and bury my face in my pillow.
Fourteen hours and life will be normal again.
Go to Chapter Two