Joey wished the lights could be actually turned off at night, where he was staying now. Yes, the old grocery store, which meant a huge room full of cots. It wasn't quite bootcamp. Still, he couldn't sleep in the dim lit room. But, he guessed everything was OK. He knew the girl with the sweet smile, at the library wouldn't want to hear it.
He picked up a graphic novel that she suggested. He skimmed through the pages as if he might have been told to do. Of course, his mind rushed back to the moment he saw his daughter, Dakota.
They saw each other...maybe 15 minutes before he was rushed off, to the group home, last week. He didn't want to think of it as a half-way house.
Dakota had grown so much. Naturally, she wanted to know if he remembered her.
"Of course, I do, silly." He'd messed with her golden hair while practically nursing his bottom lip, trying to think what to say. He'd waited for her to ask questions. And she did. She then told him she'd met his friend.
Joey drew a blank. What friend? He didn't have any friend. It still bothered him that he didn't know who she was talking about. She'd met his friend's mother and another mother.
"I dunno if they'll ever be grandmothers like Grandy." She was talking about Joey's mother. "But she doesn't want to move here. Anyway, your friend said I could stay with them. And..and they're talking it all out with Grandy. That way, I can be close to you."
Of course, he hadn't heard from her since. Patty, who was still the group leader, said he could write Dakota.
Patty gave him some colorful HELLO KITTY postcards. He did try to write to Dakota, everyday.
He knew he should be writing to Dakota right now, not skimming through a graphic novel.
"Here, I can't check it out." Joey looked up, blankly at the girl who'd found the book for him.
"How about I check it out, for you. I'll put it on my account." She smiled.
"Oh, no." He shook his head. It was complicated at the home. There were thieves, everywhere. "I..I couldn't."
"It'll be fine." She insisted, as she motioned for him to come with her. They went to the counter. She checked it out in her account and handed him the book.
He was overcome with emotion. He hated himself so much, when it happened. He could barely say thank you.
Joey took the book to the magazines and looked through it as if he was someone else. He didn't want to be lost, but he knew he was.
About five minutes later he found the inside bookdrop and pushed it in. It was safer this way. He didn't want to get anyone in trouble.