Author: cormorant PM
Do we ever grow up?Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Words: 2,081 - Reviews: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-22-08 - Status: Complete - id: 2507898
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
So I'm standing at this payphone in the dark, and it starts raining, really raining. The water's coming down hard, making everything slick, and the receiver slips right out of my hand the first time I try to pick it up. When I stoop to pick it up, I can feel the hem of my dress rip underneath someone else's coat. Fuck. I straighten up and punch the greasy silver digits of the payphone, and then I wait.
Mary picks up, sounding worried and half-asleep.
I tell her not to worry, but to come and pick me up.
"I thought Eric drove you?"
"He did. I'll tell you later. Just come and get me, okay? It's frickin' freezing."
"Alright," she concedes, and then sighs. She doesn't say what I already know she wants to, but she's thinking it pretty damn loud. I told you so. She says, "Let me just take Tyler over to the neighbors'. No need to drag him out this late. Then I'll be right over. Where are you?"
The rain's still puking down on me, turning my whole body into knots from the chill, but my shoulders loosen considerably when she agrees to pick me up.
I can't remember the street though, so I start looking around for a sign, "It's, um…"
And thunder swells, carrying a bolt of blue across the clouds. And the payphone buzzes, and is silent. Dead. And Mary has no idea where I am. And neither, in fact, do I. So I walk to the edge of the street and read its sign, which (just my luck) seems to be ensconced in the branches of a tree circa the Mesozoic era. The sign tells me that the street number is approximately ten or more digits lower than the one I live on. That means I need to go west to get home. Eight to ten blocks west, to be precise. I pull up this stranger's nappy brown coat, collar flipped up to my ears, and start to walk home. It just keeps on raining.
A block or so later, I wriggle the cheap little department store ring off my finger, and chuck it into the street. After that, I feel a lot lighter. Somewhere behind my current path, I wonder if Eric has yet to notice my absence. Probably not, I figure; it's a New Year's party, after all. Fuck him, either way, I tell myself, but I still start crying. There's another five months of my life I'll never get back. Another fifty thousand I-love-yous wasted.
And it's not just the big stuff, like people think. It's not just because he got wasted and passed out at someone else's house when he knows I A) don't drink, and B) have no ride home. It's not even the fact that I had to wake up my sister and her four-year-old son at two am to come and get me.
It's all the stupid little things. Guys, that's what we leave you for. There, I said it. We girls are petty. Sometimes it's because you didn't call when you said you would, or because you didn't ask about our day until you'd gotten what you wanted from us. We hate it when you get too comfortable and we can't stand watching you watch TV.
At least, I think I'm speaking for all of us. I guess I might just be babbling of my own experiences. Then again, I suppose this is all the standard drama that comes with any high school relationship. The only thing is, I'm thirty-two years old! I've been running this reel for twenty years, and every episode seems to have the same ending. I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!
As I'm also shaking now from the cold, I huddle even closer into the hideous jacket. Okay, so wedge heels and a cocktail dress aren't exactly January attire. But it's California, for gosh sakes, nobody ever told me it could get this cold! Typical dumb blonde mistake, I guess. I'm famous for them. Even if (like me) you're a successful real estate agent and homeowner, people will still never think twice before cracking jokes about you.
Like it's my fault I was born bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and blonde. Sometimes things just drop out of nowhere on you. Speaking of which, I think something may have just dropped out of my coat pocket. I was walking pretty fiercely. Anyway, it looks like a wallet. That or it's some kind of big square chew toy, because this thing is dimpled in places it shouldn't even use. Men just don't know when it's time to buy a new anything, do they?
As I keep walking (a little slower now) and the crying dwindles, I flip open the three-fold and begin to flip through it. Not the most polite thing to do, but whatever. About a hundred odd dollars, a movie stub from a slasher that came out about a month ago, two mints, a condom…yep, this is definitely one of Eric's friends.
By now my stomach's convulsing, so I pop one of the mints, and continue to inspect the wallet as I trudge across puddles and concrete. There's a little black flip-book of pictures- one of a huge brown dog with its tongue hanging out, another of a big-eyed girl with long dark hair (girlfriend? Or maybe a relative…) and another of two old people holding hands and smiling. The rest of the photo sleeves are filled with frequent-buyer cards and old scraps of paper.
So the guy's your typical male, but he's got a soft spot for hairy things with big eyes, and old people. I thumb back one last pocket, and finally find a driver's license. Hubba hubba. Am I drooling out loud? How could I not have noticed this face at the party? I mean, yeah, I was there with my boyfriend, but no one ever said looking at other people was illegal, right? But trust me, there hadn't been much worth looking at.
I certainly hadn't seen this fine male specimen. He's got big, deep brown eyes, tufts of thick hair to match, olive skin, sharp features, and a hell of a smile. And he looks this good on his driver's license? I can only imagine what this guy looks like in habitats other than that of the DMV. The name reads Felix Holden. He's also six-foot-two. He's a twenty-nine-year-old organ donor. His birthday is next Wednesday. I think I could be in love. After this, I start going through all of Felix's pockets. Why not? It's a long walk. There isn't much to discover, though. I find two old gum wrappers, a lighter (not another smoker! Oh well) some loose change, and-oh damn- a set of keys.
I wouldn't go so far as to describe my condition with the word panic, but I am feeling just a little sick. I just up and stole some guy's coat- some really fine guy's coat- and he left his keys in it. I mean, I took the thing because it looked old and abandoned. How was I supposed to know some dude was using it as a purse? But stealing someone's keys is almost like stealing someone's car, isn't it? And on top of that, they're really nice car keys, so that's like stealing a really nice car. I've been walking really sporadically again, hardly keeping track of where I'm going, but now I come to an abrupt stop. Just as abruptly I find myself plunked down ass-first in a puddle. I squeal- half from shock, half from pain because I've landed palms-down with the keys still in my left hand.
"Shit, I'm sorry. Here, let me help you up. "
There's this guy standing over me all of a sudden, and normally at this point I'd be mortified and already on my feet. But right now I'm jut sitting here, dumbfounded, because-
"Hey, are you alright?" He's standing there, offering his hand to me, "Are you…wearing my jacket?" And he's Felix Holden.
Being found out seems to kick my brain back into gear. "Yeah, no, I'm fine. I just wasn't paying attention. It's just so cold out, and wet, and, well, yes, I think this is your jacket," I blubber, then stuff the keys back into the pocket they'd come from, and disrobe. I hold the coat out to Felix the six-foot-two organ donor, and try to create a smile that is both apologetic and innocent. I feel like I look like a loon.
It must have worked though, because his expression of utter puzzlement softens to something more forgiving.
"Sorry about stealing it. I guess I wasn't really thinking much when I left that party. I assure you, I'm not normally a suede thief." The words sound slower and more even; I'm regaining my composure.
"Hey, it's cool. Actually, you saved me a trip," he says warmly, despite the cold rain leaking from his hair.
"How so?" I ask.
"Well Bruce Lowry- you know him? –" I nod. "He wanted me to go for a ride with him in his new Camaro," Oh, I'd seen the new Camaro. It was chartreuse; it made me want to gag, "Well, he ended up dropping me off at my place. Would've been great, except that I can't get in. Anyway, I figured I'd rather walk back and get my stuff than have to ride with him. The guy drives bad enough sober. I'd just started to head that way, when I saw you. I admit I was a little worried when I saw you, but, like I said, you saved me a trip." He flashes that disgustingly beautiful smile and shrugs.
I sigh. Well, good for you Felix. But me, I'm still cold, wet, and abandoned. So I say, "Sorry to have worried you. But you've got your stuff now, so I'll just be on my way." And I keep on walking home. Way to be a gentleman, right? I guess wallet reading is an imperfect art. He turned out just to be another overgrown high school guy after all. I've still got about six blocks to go, so no sense wasting any more time. It's already going on morning.
I'm starting to fast-walk again when I feel a warm hand grasp my soggy shoulder. Felix calls, "Wait! Where are you going?"
"This way," I point, and resume my march.
"Well, my place is just a little bit that way," he points off to the south, "and if you wouldn't mind walking back with me, I could give you a lift as far 'this' way as you need to go."
After a few suspicious seconds, I concede, and begin to follow Felix back toward his place. Honestly, I'm grateful, because wedges are not walking shoes, and I don't know if I could've made that last six blocks without losing an ankle. I trail a few paces behind Felix until he eventually slows his gait and catches up with me. When he does, he shakes out the semi-sodden jacket and wraps it tight around my shoulders. When we reach his car, I climb into the passenger seat and Felix kicks the heat on. And here I am, thirty-two years old and still in high school, riding in a car with a boy. Do we ever grow up?
We pull up to my house, and I thank Felix for the ride, passing him his coat back. And of course, my phone number is slipped discreetly yet obviously into the front pocket. I throw him a smile as I hop out of the car.
No, I guess we don't, do we.