I don’t know why, but Liam was hellbent on this “daddy” idea. Every man that walked by us when we’re in the grocery store today, he would point to and say, “What about him? Could he be my daddy?” My face was bright red by the time we made it to my car. I opened the trunk and hastily packed all the groceries.
Then of course, I pick up a bag with a bunch of cans of SpagettiO’s (Liam’s favorite), only for the bag to rip on me. “Darn cheapo bags.” I grumbled as I rushed around to gather the runaway cans.
Then I watched a different hand reach down and grab the one can I was about to reach for. I looked up to see a set of the most unusually colored eyes. They were like…blue and gold at the same time. I leaned in for a better look but whoever it was got up, holding out the can, “I think this is yours.”
It was a man…probably around my age.
My heart thudded in a way I thought it never would.
“Could he be my daddy?” I heard Liam cry across the parking lot.
The man laughed as I smiled.
“Is he yours?” The man asked.
I couldn’t breathe, let alone talk. So I just nodded. “He’s cute.” It was silent while we watched Liam just stand by my car with his head cocked to the one side. “Oh I didn’t tell you my name did I? I’m Joel Olkin.” Joel stuck his hand out for me to shake. I accepted the hand while managing to say, “I’m Hazel Parker and that is my son Liam Parker.”
“Is there a Mr. Parker?” Liam finally came running across the street and I picked him up as I stated, “It’s…complicated.”
“Hallo, are you a daddy?” Liam blantly asked. I was about to scold him but Joel held his hand up, “It’s alright. No little Liam I am not.”
I bounced Liam lightly in my arms, “Really? Why?”
He shrugged then looked directly at me, “Just haven’t found the right person yet.”
We had a moment of just looking at each other until the sound of a honking car made us both jump. I began back to my car but Joel stopped me, holding out the bag of Spagetti O’s.
“So the complication? I have time to listen.”
“It’s complicated.” I groaned. This Joel guy somehow has managed to convince me to sit in a McDonald’s and tell my life story while Liam happily plays along with other kids in the playground. It must be his eyes; I melt just by looking in them.
“Nonsense, you can tell me.” His eyes were filled with such sincerity.
“But…but it’s complicated.”
“And I told you. I have nowhere to go.” He stared at me straight in the eyes and I melted again. “This isn’t really something to discuss while at McDonald’s.” I glanced nervously around for fear a neighbor might not be too far away.
Joel shrugged, “Fine by me. You can come over to my house. I’m a pretty good cook.” He looked at his feet and blushed. Aww, he blushed, I thought. But my face hardened, “Come over to your house?”
“Don’t worry. I wouldn’t do anything to you. I’m just curious to see what’s behind those eyes of yours. I sense there’s a fascinating story.”
Joel has no idea does he?