"I’m dog tired and look it. I can feel the bags under my eyes dragging my face to the pavement. People pass, I barely look at them, just enough to avoid contact. I’m isolated, lost in my thoughts, just trying to make it home.
A pizza I ordered waits for me at Pizza Pier. I can see the storefront in the distance, a few hundred feet away. I walk past the Sushi restaurant that shares the same block, peek in the window as I pass and notice a beautiful young girl sitting at one of the tables that line the outside windows. It’s just a glance, a fraction of a second, but I feel a little better.
I’m waiting for my pizza. Marlin, the guy behind the counter is busy with somebody else. I wait, and slouch a little, the hours having finally caught up with me. Thirty-four hours since my last encounter with unconsciousness. It’s different being a civilian in Providence, the uniform gone, the radio on somebody else’s belt and the crushing weight of being on duty lifted, for now.
I turn and there is the beautiful young girl standing next to me. I’m filled with such ridiculous happiness I can’t believe how good I feel.
“You look tired,” she says, and gives me a hug.
“Just a little.”
We talk a little, hope to get together this weekend. I want to join her and her friend but I just don’t have the gas, and it would be a little tacky to bring a pizza into a Sushi place, I think. I pay for the pizza and we walk out together. We say goodbye, and she leaves me, to join her friend back at the table by the window. I look in again as I walk past, smile and wave to them.
I don’t feel so alone when I get back to my car, turn the key and head away from the city toward home. I’m not as tired, either. I feel good. Great actually, and savor every second of happiness that an unexpected encounter with my daughter has given to me."
Me and Brittany will be taking a walk together today. We'll be starting at the top of some stairs at The Ocean House at Watch Hill, Westerly, RI, and then stroll through some roses and hydrangeas, then move through a hundred and fifty people, and we'll end near the ocean, where I'll shake her future husbands hand, kiss her on the cheek and join my wife and watch her get married, as I try to hold back an ocean of my own.
Congratulations, Brittany and Eric, and Eric, if you love her half as much as I do, that will be enough. But you better love her more.