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Take a man flowers? You do if he's your father. One of the many hazards of wearing a badge. Holidays don't mean shit. I'm scheduled through the weekend and into the better part of next week. Today's the only chance I'll get. Guess I could of had them delivered. Kinda want to do it myself though.

I oughta have my head examined.

What am I doing?

I've been in a couple times. Always to buy. Never to talk. We always end up talking about the same things. Fighting the same arguments. Swear to God he sounds like a broken record sometimes.

There's a customer going out as I'm comin' in. We pass each other in the doorway. Papi's still working the register. After a minute, he looks up.

We stare at each other from across the shop.

"Yah. I know. I'm early," I finally say. The only thing worse than the same old fight is the silence. I hold out the flowers. My peace offering.

He stares at me some more before rounding the counter. He leans into it and crosses his arms.

Oh shit, here it comes.

"Learn to use the phone," he says sharply.

Can I call it or what?

His posture relaxes entirely. "Or stop by more often. Your mother misses your sweet voice."

What - ?

He steps forward to take the flowers and opens up his arms for a hug.

The last time he hugged me was -

I can't remember.

I'm there. In a heartbeat.

"Happy Father's Day, Papi."

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det_montoya

February 2007

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