Sorry, had to wait on something to actually happen to write these newest posts. So, here goes….
I was sitting outside a couple of days ago reading. Living in an apartment complex I don’t have the pleasure of sitting on a front porch to read, but I do have the next best thing: trees. Since summer has arrived, if I don’t get up early enough to get outside and sit in the sun in the morning, I make sure to take a book outside and read under the tree just outside my office window. The birds have gotten used to me sitting there, and a couple of squirrels, so they don’t go skittering and flying off once I am settled like they do for everyone else. On this particular day there was a number of birds around the tree foraging for seeds and worms in the mulch around the tree when a car I didn’t recognize or was familiar with pulled into a parking space near to where I was sitting.
There was a pretty young woman in it with long brown hair. Her car was spotless (I don’t know what kind it was except that it was a two-door and it was old and green), and when she got out of the car, so was she. She had a small clutch in one hand and her keys in another. There was a bulge in her back pocket where her cell phone was. I knew a single guy lived in the building she was in front of. I believe he goes to college. He waves to me when he goes on his morning or afternoon run whether I am in the office or outside. He is a pretty nice guy from what I know of him.
The pretty girl acted nervous and kept sliding hair behind her left ear. She was wearing little bead earrings. She glanced at me and I smiled. She smiled back, and not to be staring I looked back to my book, but was very aware of her out of my periphery. Pretty Girl emanated nervous energy and determination. I felt her glance at me one more time before she dug into her back pocket to pull out her cell phone.
“Hi, it’s me. I’m outside. Can you come out for a minute?” she said. I hazarded a glance at her again. Her head was down and she was rubbing the back of her neck. I looked away before she caught me. I hope.
A different guy than Running Dude came out of the building. He was unfamiliar. He was tall, thin, almost lanky, and wore an over-large white tee-shirt with blue ball shorts and flip-flops.
“Hi, babe,” he said. He went to kiss her on the lips and she moved so that he kissed her cheek. Uh oh, there was danger in paradise. “What’s up?”
I kept my eyes on the page as much as I could.
Pretty Girl inhaled deeply and said, in a rush, “This isn’t working out. You use far too many drugs and I don’t want to get hooked up with an addict. If you get help, then maybe. But, for now, it’s over, Tad. I’m sorry.” Wow! I studiously kept my eyes on the page and strained to catch every word.
“You’re afraid me smoking pot?” Tad said, incredulous.
“No, it isn’t pot. Pot I could actually handle. You’re doing way more than pot. Don’t try to deny it. You’re doing pills. I don’t know what kind of pills, but you are. I have worked hard to get my scholarship. I’m working two jobs to pay for my apartment and for food. You know my family isn’t rich and I can’t go to them asking for money. All of your extra money goes for dope, real dope. You don’t care about school or grades or anything else except getting high. I care about a lot more.”
“Oh, so you’re jealous of my family’s money, Is that it?”
“No! That isn’t it,” Pretty Girl said. She was close to tears. You could practically hear them in her voice. “You know it isn’t. We had a date planned for Friday and I asked for a night off from the restaurant. You never showed. You never called. I came by to see if you were here and you were so out of it you don’t even remember seeing me. Do you?”
“No, you don’t. I am not as important as your pills or whatever it is you’re doing. I thought you might be the one, Tad, but I can’t compete with your pills and your ‘good time’, Can I?” This time I chanced a quick look. Tad was stubbing his flip-flop toes on the sidewalk. His head was down and he looked very young and a little confused. At that moment I was pretty sure he had never been told “no” before.
“I hope things work out for you, Tad. I really do.” Pretty Girl moved with determination and got into her car. The engine came to life and Pretty Girl drove away. Tad watched her go. He still had a confused look on his face. He didn’t see me as he turned around to go back into the apartment.