Three Couples, Six People, Many Songs(#4)

Song #4 - Mmmbop, Hanson

James stared long and hard at the five $20 bills in his hand. Not enough money to turn him into a respectable, 'normal' member of society, but maybe enough to get his life back on track a bit...

Two days ago he had found the check, and just that morning he had cashed it. But what should he do with the money? With thoughtful green eyes, James looked down at Martin, and the boy looked back up at him. New clothes for the boy, and shoes, and then... and then...

James leaned against the K-mart building that they stood by. How exactly was he supposed to turn his life around with just $100?

Martin tugged sharply on his father's hand. "I wanna go," the boy whined, tired of standing around.

James sighed. If he never had Martin, things would be easier. Half of the money would be best spent on the boy, and what good would $50 do?

Yet then again... Who said his life had to do an immediate turn? If he put the last $50 away, and kept his current job, but saved a little from each job. Say, he put away at least $5 of each of his weekly pay each time, then he could gradually save up enough money.

But... enough money for what? Ah, yes. Enough money to buy his way out of his current situation. But then what? His current job gave him a place to live, not the best place but there was a roof. James frowned. He would not be wanted back home, that was for sure. But maybe... maybe Jessie could help him out. If she could just find him somewhere to live, he could get a job. And then maybe go back to school. Or do those internet courses, or evening classes.

"Daddy, I'm hungry..." Martin tugged on his fathers hand with both of his own tiny hands now.

"Just a second Martin." James smiled a little, pleased with his plan. It would take a while, but in the long run, he would be better off, and so would Martin. "Alright, we're getting you some new clothes." He looked down at his son again, grimacing at the torn t-shirt. "And after that, we'll get something to eat."

"Yay!" The boy grinned excitedly. He never got new clothes! Skipping as his father walked, the little nearly four year old thought over the exciting concept of new clothes.


Back in the not quite druggie house that James currently abided in, Martin slept, curled up in his father's lap. With a satisfied smile on his face, James tightened his hold on the little child. So pure and innocent, unlike him... James felt it his responsibility to make sure Martin never became as screwed up as himself.

The young man looked around the room that was his current living area: a small, simple room with a cardboard box as a table, a thin mattress with a worn out sheet and a rock hard pillow, and an old suitcase that held everything James owned. For a moment, James felt that his current optimism would turn out to be him shooting too high, but then a random conversation he had with Martin the previous day popped back into his mind.

/"Who was the lady?" The boy asked, sitting on James shoulder as they took a walk through the run-down park.

"An old friend," James replied simply.

"I liked her," the boy announced. "She was pretty, and she gave me food."

Amused by the boy's simple outlook, James laughed, and the boy, not quite understanding the 'joke', but sensing his father's amusement at something, giggled. "Yes, she is pretty."

"Will we see her again?"

James sighed, stopping to look at a tiny flower that had managed to grow in the dry dirt. Few friendships and relationships ever survived, just like few flowers grew in that park... "I don't really know."

"Oh. I want to see her again." Martin sounded almost wistful, and James was puzzled by his son's strange attachment to Jessie. Yet at the same time, he felt touched by it...

James held onto his son just a little more tightly. He could not guarantee that Jessie would be able to help him, or that they could ever be friends again, that they could ever have a relationship. That was one of life's little quirks. You never knew who would stay by your side.

He kissed his son gently on his tiny forehead, then leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. "But I'll always be by your side, Martin... And that I know is true."


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