The sun shining through the windshield felt warmer.
It heated the driver’s seat Charles had slept in. He’d sat up all night thinking, and never got in the back to lay himself down. Charles remembered; what Charlie told him was exactly true. He was doing paperwork that night at his diner when he heard the story on the news. Charlie’s mother was his daughter’s best friend. They played together as kids, became inseparable in high school, and were roommates in college. Charlie’s father went to college with the girls too, and after graduation they’d gotten married. Charles and Donada were going to foster Charlie. They were on their way to interview with Child Protective Services when their car was hit by the drunken driver of a tractor trailer. Donada was instantly gone, and Charles remained in a hospital bed for six weeks.
Between the loss of his wife and physical therapies, Charles lost his passion for life. He sold the diner to his daughter, and was now living on the settlement from the accident. He never knew what became of Charlie. He didn’t want to know. He feared it would only make the hole in his heart bigger. Charles kept all of his wife’s belongings; in fact he kept everything after her death. The Warner residence was so full it was no longer habitable. Charles slept in the backseat of his Chevy Tahoe for the past six years. He cut off communication with everyone; even his own child. The neighbors never saw him. They only assumed he was still alive because they hadn’t heard otherwise, and witnessed the Tahoe backing in and out of the garage.
“Oh honey, why’d you have to go? And why would you allow me to see this boy on the anniversary of your passing?” Charles sat up straight in the driver’s seat of his truck speaking out loud to his deceased. He also took the time to talk to God. He hadn’t remembered the last time he prayed, but he knew this was a day in which he needed to. Charles took some time to meditate on his prayers. He took a deep breath and sat up straighter in his seat. No wonder he could feel the sun; he never closed the garage door last night either! ‘What is happening to me?’ he thought. ‘This kid is making me crazy.’
Charles suddenly took a look around the garage. He hadn’t noticed how full it had gotten. ‘This is disgusting. This cannot be my life. This mess needs to change. TODAY.’ Charles got out of the car and closed the garage. He walked carefully along the path he’d made to the door that led inside the house. Charles kicked and moved everything in his way to get to the house phone. He dialed a disposal service. Charles never made it to his park bench that day.
What will become of Charles next?
Will he ever make it back to the diner he once gave up?
Will he tell Charlie he actually knew his mother and father?
Buns of Steel. You don’t want to miss what happens next!