I think I began to feel guilty for
Ignoring him. For sticking him with the endless drama that was the package and parcel of my mother. I actually felt a bit sorry for him. He had endurance, that was for sure. So I talked to him and agreed to go out with him. He said dinner. I said ok.
I was used to going out. That was just part of the restaurant life. You slave all day taking care of people, so what do you do after your workday? Go to another restaurant where they will take care of you, and slowly you are pulled into the restaurant world. Eight hour shifts turn into twelve, fourteen hours of diners, restaurants and clubs. Eight hours of sleep maybe. Leaves time for errands and that’s about it.
He picks me up. His car was clean and new. All the cars he drove were always clean. His job was washing and waxing the fleet amongst other things I found out about later. This car was the most beautiful car I’d ever seen. All the years of ugly men offering rides home in pretty cars jaded me into thinking I’d rather be bicycled on a luggage rack, holding onto someone decent, than riding with a slug in a showy car.
We drove around for awhile, I had no idea which restaurant he planned to go to, but he was taking a long time to get there. It was ok, he was easy to be with, the car was comfortable and the radio was really, really nice, like a concert in a living room. We were driving down Lawrence Ave, just past the Ridgemoor country club, just past the corner grocery where everyone went for milk, and one of my favorite songs comes on.
Lonely rivers flow
To the sea, to the sea
To the open arms of the sea, yeah
Lonely rivers sigh
“Wait for me, wait for me”
I’ll be coming home, wait for me
I reach over and crank up the volume. In my car, the sound would crackle and break… in this car, it was clear, round and beautiful. First time I had ever been surrounded by sound this way. I got lost in it for a bit, like I just dove into a cool pool of sound and now I’m gliding through it. I’m happy, I smile at him and he looks amused and smiles at me. He turns it down a bit, actually a lot, ( I think the windows vibrated little) after the song ended.
So we drive around some more and I realize he had no idea where he was going. So I ask him where we are going. He says “wherever you want”.
Really? A man with a plan alright. So we drive around some more, then pick up a bucket of fried chicken and go back to my house.
Turns out later, he didn’t have a pot to piss in. But that’s another story.