Fruits of my Garden

The low rumble of thunder kept Lorne cursing under his breath, as he huddled further back into the bus shelter. The rain was downright pouring on the empty streets. It was almost dark already, at 5:00. Lorne was shivering. He'd only worn a light sweater, not expecting the rain or the cold. He was calling himself a fool in his head when something distracted him.

Someone was collapsing an umbrella and coming into the shelter. The stranger pulled back the sopping wet hood of his blue rain jacket, and checked his phone for the time. Lorne couldn't help but notice this man's face. He had dark olive skin and dark eyes with long eyelashes. His expressionless mouth had a fine twist to it. Lorne got embarrassed and turned his eyes away.

After thirty seconds though, this stranger turned to him, asking only "Do you know when the bus is coming?"

"Sorry man, I don't know." Keep cool. "But, uh, I've been here for fifteen minutes, so it couldn't be too much longer…" With that, Lorne looked at him again. His eyes shone with a lively brightness, and he was smiling a bit too.

"Good," he said, "I just moved here. I hope I'm catching the right bus. I need to get to the university." Lorne noticed that he had some kind of a clipped accent.

"You mean UBC? Yeah, this is the right stop." Lorne was getting uncomfortable, talking to this stranger. He was used to a bit of solitude before he had to go to work.

"Good," the stranger said, "good. Where are you going?

Lorne replied only out of politeness. "Oh, I'm going to work." The stranger kept looking at him, clearly expecting him to continue. "I work at a convenience store. It's open 24 hours a day so…" Lorne shrugged at the darkening rain, "I start pretty late."

Before he'd finished speaking though, he could hear a bus coming through the rain, slowing down.

"Ah! My bus!" The stranger was excited. "I'm happy to have met you. What is your name?"

"Oh, it's … Lorne."

"I am Federico." He reached out a hand to Lorne, and they shook. "Is this your bus?"

"No, I've got another one," he replied. Federico appeared nonplussed.

"Well, I hope we see each other again here. Goodbye!" With that, Federico boarded the bus, which roared off into the evening.

#

"Hey, heads up!" John said, throwing a hot dog bun at Lorne. It hit him right in the head.

"Why'd you do that? God, I'm tired." Lorne grumbled as he stocked the shelves of the convenience store. Everything was lit by the fluorescent lights, the glass walls showing the night to be still rainy.

"Really? When did you get up?"

"Well, two… in the afternoon. But I can still be tired."

"Lorne, you realize other people have to wake up in the morning? We've got things like school, jobs, relationships." John was prattling on again. Sometimes he was an alright co-worker, but sometimes Lorne thought he was an ass.

"You can pull the job thing when I'm at work, man." Lorne didn't think he could put up with John much today.

"Look, all I'm saying is you're turning twenty-two next month. People graduate from university at twenty two. They get cool jobs, not work at a convenience store. I've known you for… two years now? And you still work here. You still aren't in university. You haven't even been on a date since I met you. Man, what happens when you wake up and your forty?"

"John, could you get off my back? As if I don't know all this. Stop judging my life and do something around here." Lorne was glad his back was turned to John, because he couldn't hide the look on his face. What John was saying was true, and hadn't Lorne thought all these things before. Too often.

Luckily, some teenagers came in to buy sodas and snacks. John dealt with the cash and Lorne came behind the counter, looking through cupboards with no real purpose, just to look busy.

#

Lorne rode the last bus home in the night. He was thinking about what John had said. Well, maybe it was time for a change? Would he ask someone out? The idea made him a bit queasy with nerves. He actually hated the idea. But the thought of someone to hold on to… the thought of someone to take to parties… the thought of someone to sleep with at night… yes. Lorne could get used to that.

He ran the half block from where he got off the bus to the low rise where he lived. "Liz," he said, shutting the door softly behind him, "are you up?"

"Yeah," he heard the reply. She was in her bedroom. She was on her awful, old, old computer, basking in the blue glow of the screen.

"Jeez, turn a light on or something," Lorne said, doing such. "Liz, is my life a waste? A failure."

"Pff. No. Why?" She turned to him in her swivel chair, rubbing her eyes.

"I mean, I'm thinking… of asking someone out."

Her eyes widened in response. "Really? Who?"

"Well uh, I don't know anyone yet to ask but…" Lorne said.

"Ah, I see how it is."

"So where do you meet people?" Lorne asked, trying not to sound like a total stranger to dating.

"Where do I meet people, or where do you meet people? I have a feeling these are different places." She said seriously.

"Well, where I would meet people, duh." Lorne was in no mood.

"Well you could go to clubs… but you probably won't find much in the way of a deep relationship there. You should join a club or something. That's a good way to meet interesting people. Or you could go online. Plenty of people do that now, not just the social rejects."

"Thanks Liz." Lorne clearly did not like to think of himself as a social reject. "This is scary."

Liz got up and walked over to Lorne, putting her hand on his arm. "You'll do fine baby. You're beautiful, you're smart, you're funny… you'll have to beat the boys off with a stick. Hm. That sounded way more sexual than what I meant. But listen, you'll do fine, just don't worry about it."

"Asking me not to worry? I never knew you were such a dreamer Liz."

"Har har. Now get out. I actually do plan on going to sleep eventually."

Lorne settled himself on his bed, eyes open. He stared at the wall and thought about things, hopes and fears in equal measure.