The Best Medicine
Sometimes I Feel Like I'm Being Watched...
In Sheep's Clothing
I knew Max wouldn't have asked me to be there unless he genuinely needed me. Which was why I hadn't declined when he'd asked. Max Bartrom was a proud man, and in the time I had known him he had barely shown even a moment of weakness.
He truly didn't want to face this alone.
Then again, I didn't want to face it, either. Hell, I barely liked doing it when I was legally required to, much less willingly walking into it with someone else. But Max was my friend; what choice did I have? Lord knows I'd been in his position many times.
The child exchange was never an easy process with Jim, my ex. He only kept Hope, our four-year-old daughter, two weekends out of the month, and he was constantly trying to barter those away for weekdays. He always claimed he was trying to do me a favor, so I'd have my weeknights free to catch up on my medical charts. But I knew what he was really up to. When he had her on weekdays he only had to spend minimal time with her. By the time each of us was off work and I'd driven to his apartment (and yes, it was always me who had to drive Hope to him), it was time to put her in bed so he could wake her up early the next morning and whisk her off to daycare. And with his no-obligation weekends he was free to get plastered for three straight nights and bring home whatever little barely-able-to-drink tartlet he happened to pick up at a bar.
The worst times where when he brought his tart-of-week to the kid exchanges. And I had to smile and say hello while clawing her eyes out in my mind.