An Ordinary Sanctuary


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1. The Ranger

 

She didn't wave goodbye. She didn't even look at him. Karen blankly accepted the apologies and the promises and the hesitant peck on the cheek, but her eyes stared straight ahead and never veered. She barely blinked. She dropped Dave off and when he shut the door she rolled her eyes. Dave did the awkward half-shuffle back to the car, the peculiar “I'm sorry I didn't shut the door hard enough” dance, but Karen beat him to it. The door slammed and the car peeled out of the parking lot before Dave barely had time to lift his hand.

 

She didn't wave back.

 

The rain was timid that day. It'd been threatening to rain all morning before a few hesitant spits greeted the concrete, and the clouds rolled past like so many tumbleweeds across the sky.

 

It was just how Dave had felt for weeks: The threat of a downpour was lurking, but always just out of reach. He dragged his suitcase across the concrete with a heavy heart.

 

An old friend waved to Dave from the front porch, and for a moment a spark lit his face. He gave a weak smile and extended his hand as he walked over.

 

“Dave,” said the old friend. He didn't look any better or worse than Dave remembered, which he supposed was good news.

 

“Kevin P,” said Dave. He knew it was “Parson”, but that was out of decorum.

 

“Heard you were coming,” said Kevin P.

 

Dave shrugged and studied his shoes. “Yeah, well. Shit happens.”

 

Kevin P put both his hands up, an almost extinguished cigarette nestled between his fingers. “Don't need to explain, man. Don't need to at all.” He turned and flicked his cigarette into a nearby ashtray, then turned back and clapped a hand on Dave's shoulder. “It's like they say, man. You're in the right place.”

 

Dave looked up and met his eyes, wanting to believe him and never being less sure of anything in his whole life.

 

“You're in the right place,” Kevin P said again.  

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