Day by Day - By Delia Parr Page 0,1

row houses built during the Great Depression town houses now, but more than the name had changed. Prices of these homes had nearly quadrupled in the years since she and her husband, Frank, had purchased theirs some thirty-five years ago. With Frank gone four years now, God rest his soul, she was barely able to afford the taxes, but she did own the house, free and clear. Any plans she had for spending her golden years comfortably, unfortunately, had died with him, along with the hope she might one day be reconciled with their only daughter, Candy, or see her grandson, Brian. She stopped at the corner to let the traffic pass and patted her thigh. “Looks like I’ll have to struggle through, best as I can on my own. Don’t need much for myself. Good thing, too,” she mumbled before crossing the street.

Dog tired, she got a boost of energy as she started down the block where she lived and thought about taking a shower. A long, refreshing shower. Then a quick bite to eat and off to bed where she could fall asleep watching television, but only after she had set the alarm so she would not oversleep and miss Sunday services. Walking against the glare of the late-afternoon sun, she could just make out her row house on the corner at the end of the block, and it appeared that one of the neighborhood children was using the railing on her front porch like a balance beam.


Another boost of energy hastened her steps, and her purse swayed faster as she hurried toward home. She loved the neighborhood children. She did not mind if they played on her front lawn or climbed the backyard fence to retrieve a lost ball. She even let them skateboard in the driveway along the side of her house, since she could not afford the insurance for a car and the driveway served no real purpose for her.

Her front porch railing, however, was definitely off-limits. Visions of one of the children falling off the railing now and getting hurt sent her scurrying as fast as her tired legs could carry her. From behind, the boy only appeared to be five or six years old. Didn’t anyone keep track of their little ones any more?

“You there! Get down! You’ll really get hurt if you fall,” she cried as she passed the front of the house next door.

If the boy heard her, he ignored her and continued his daredevil antics by leaping from the front railing to the side one. He landed hard, bobbed a bit, then pitched headlong off the railing toward the driveway below.

Shock halted her steps and her heart skipped a beat, but instead of a scream of terror or the horrible sound of his little body striking the asphalt driveway, she heard a man’s harsh voice. “Do it again, and this time, try harder so you don’t fall!”

Her eyes widened. Her pulse quickened, and she charged past her front lawn, ready to give a good tongue-lashing to the idiot of a man who was letting the boy use her front porch like an old-fashioned playground. She rounded the corner of the yard and faced the man who was lifting the boy back up to the railing, but the diatribe she had planned died before she could utter a single word.

The man was indeed an idiot.

He was also her son-in-law.

Was the boy with him her grandson, Brian? She had not seen the boy for four years, and he had only been a few months old when Duke and Candy had first moved to California with him. Her heart leaped with hope. Was Candy here, too? Was she inside, ready to reconcile, or at least explain why she had gone back to California after that terrible scene at Frank’s funeral?

“Duke?” was all Judy could manage to say.

At the sound of his name, he turned his head, gave her a relieved smile, and pulled the boy down to stand on the ground beside him. At six foot four inches and weighing close to three-hundred pounds, Duke was a massive man. His arms bulged with muscles covered with tattoos that stretched to his knuckles, and he sported half a dozen earrings in his left ear. In the distance, at the far end of the driveway, he had parked his Harley.

He nodded at her. “Me and Brian been waitin’ awhile. Just drove cross-country, and I’m plain tuckered out.”

She swallowed hard and tried not to imagine her