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Episode 1149: Chances Are

“This is such a cool project. I’m so glad you finally agreed to build it together. It’s looks so great already, even without any paint yet,” Hope enthused, sprawled on the lawn, admiring their surprisingly solid handiwork.

“Yeah, well, I’ve never been much of a book guy so it never occurred to me to set up a little cabinet at the end of my driveway to swap books with neighbors, neighbors who I enjoy about as much as books.”

“I told you,” Hope said, “this is the perfect way for someone like you to enjoy their neighbors, it’s like putting up holiday decorations, it lets them know you’re part of the community, but it’s like from afar so you don’t really have to hang with them while at the same time they won’t think you’re the weird grouchy loner guy of the street.”

But he hadn’t put in all the work for that. These couple months, doing mundane yard work and other household chores that ordinarily he would have outsourced, doing those things alongside his daughter was the happiest he’d been for the longest time.

“And it doesn’t have to be just books,” Hope went on, “we can put up a sign that welcomes all kinds of fun stuff like board games and puzzles, maybe dog toys, there are all kinds of things that could be included. I can’t wait to paint it next week and get it set up. I now you didn’t want to build it but I promise it will be so cool when it’s all finished, and we’ve had fun, too, right?”

The vulnerability in her question and especially in her expression just about killed him.

“Absolutely, building this with you has been the highlight of my summer.”

“Mine, too,” she said. “It really does look so good. I can’t believe we did this!”

“Apparently we make a great team.” The reason he’d hesitated to build this thing wasn’t his lack of interest in books, it was because he’d never built anything in his life and had feared letting her down. But he’d also feared going behind her parents backs to get to know his daughter all summer, which now, much like learning to wield a hammer and saw in front of the kid was a chance he couldn’t be more pleased that he’d taken.”

Episode 1150: Not For Me

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