Ambrosia

Sausage_biscuit

I had a really long night.

Really. Long.

First there was shuttling my room-mate (and her boyfriend) around.  This is actually something I usually kind of enjoy:  they like to walk almost everywhere, and have been spending lots of time together, so getting called to pick them up and drive them someplace is usually a chance to spend time with them, and catch up on how things are going …

They had gone to a local restaurant, within easy walking distance of his studio (he’s an artist) … it was really cold, but the walk would keep them warm, along with their coats, and, under normal circumstances, they’d have walked back. This time, though, Kayla began to have stomach cramps, something that afflicts her periodically, and it’s no laughing matter:  the pain is bad enough to double her over – and make her wish to rip the eyes out of anyone watching …

She texted me, and of course I agreed to come get them: it was only about a 10 minute errand, and it wasn’t too late, only about 9:30 … plenty of time to pick them up, take them to his place, wish them well, and be back at my computer for some serious gaming!

When I got there, though, she explained that she was going to be staying over for a couple of days, so could I please bring them to my place, where she could grab “a few things”, before taking them to his place …

At the phrase, a shiver creeped up my back, and my feeling of well-being began to evaporate. It has nothing to do with her being gone: it’s just that, to Kayla, “a few things” generally means several steamer trunks worth of make-up, clothing, shoes, and, of course, accessories. Plus her bag of medicine, and her small collection of herbal teas. And maybe a stuffed animal, or two. Plus Toiletries. Might need a chain saw. What happened to that kitchen sink we had?

As I drove them to my place, the 10-minute errand began to look like a far more time-intensive endeavor …

What’s the problem? Take  them home, let them start collecting shit, and go on with my gaming until such time as Kayla announces that she and her heavily burdened entourage are ready for departure, right?

Sorry:  doesn’t work that way with me. Look, I’m bi-polar – which also means I tend to be a bit obsessive. When I start something, I really need to finish it – as quickly as can be done.  I can’t just stop in the middle of taking them some place, and take several hours off to play my computer games:  I can’t concentrate, I get up, wander around, and when, as now, I can’t see for myself how things were going – because they were in her room with the door closed – I begin to imagine things.

Specifically, I imagined them sitting around chatting, making out, talking about the latest in nuclear physics, possibly authoring the great american novel – basically doing anything but collecting “a few things”!

I was wearing my work clothes. I have more comfortable things that I wear around the house, usually, but lately I’ve been on a cleaning spree:  the house was absolutely gleaming – except for my room and Kay’s which were both stuffed to the gills with clean folded clothes, and items from the other rooms that needed to be stored.  There was not a chance in hell of finding anything comfortable, so when the original text came, I got out of my bath-robe, and back into my work clothes, which had been removed not all that damned long earlier …

And now I was stuck in them. Kay and I had pretty much seen one another in various states of dress (it’s only a 1200 sq ft house) for years, but this guy was new in her life, and I didn’t want to embarrass her, or give him even more reason to think I’m a creepy old man, all too close to his girlfriend.  So I kept my work clothes on. Which. Grates. My. Nerves.

Look there’s an order to the Universe, ok? certain things happen at certain times, and in certain places, and there was a zen, a rightness, a fittingness about those things – and wearing work clothes at home is like being dressed up for a funeral and being made to wait!

And the time ticked on.

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

I did some laundry. I loaded the dishwasher and started it running. I washed some pots and pans by hand. I began to scour the top of the stove – a horrifying job that only the present desperation could force me to tackle!

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

Periodically, I’d go to her door and call out “how’s it coming, Kay?”  Which would invariably be answered with “Nearly ready!”

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

I took the dogs out. In the process, the Alley cat made one of her periodic bids for freedom, and disappeared into the cold blackness of the night. I brought the dogs back in, fed them, watered them, fed and watered the cats. I cleaned the cat-box – a task only slightly less disgusting than the stove-top.

Eventually, when I was nearly in tears, and strongly considering flushing her out with tear-gas, the door opened. and Kayla appeared, bundled up in a heavy coat, and loaded down with several huge bags full of “a few things”. She struggled to the door, followed by her boyfriend carrying a few more bags of “a few things” … briskly we all headed out to the car, loaded all the bags of “a few things” into the back, then rearranged them so there’d be room for Kay’s tiny body, then, as she was about to get in, the Alley Cat suddenly appeared out of the night.

Kayla and the Alley Cat have loved each other since they met, sharing an affinity for violence, and utter disdain for “normal behavior”. When Alley appeared, she seemed genuinely happy to see Kay, and wished to play. For Alley, this means letting Kay get almost close enough to touch, then dashing away and rolling on the ground, wallowing in delight … Kay, of course, crippled with cramps, would have given up, except that Alley had cunningly moved only far enough away, that it seemed another attempt could be made to capture her … and another … and another.

I began to feel a scream of frustration, building at the back of my throat.

Finally, the Alley cat miscalculated. She dashed off in a direction that allowed Keelan (Kay’s boyfriend) to get behind her. This was unacceptable because Keelan was new, and Alley had yet to sufficiently discover who he was, and held a natural mistrust of new-people, yankees, and revenuers (she is a thoroughly southern cat.)  Feeling his presence looming behind her, she dashed into Kayla’s arms, realized her mistake, and tried to escape again. I quickly grabbed her away from Kay, who was now gasping in pain, shoved her into the house and closed the door. Only a little bit louder than I should have …

Lights began to click on all over the neighborhood.

I ushered them into my tiny Cobalt, and began driving, at only twenty or thirty miles over the speed limit, toward Keelan’s place. Keelan, holding on for dear life, evidently felt it necessary to make casual conversation as I took high-g turns, and caused pedestrians to scatter before me, and cars to screech to halts all around.

Got them there in less than 4 minutes. I won’t say how far it was.

Ok, well now, of course, it’s a matter of getting the seriously ailing Kay, and several tons of “a few things” baggage out of the cramped confines of the car, and up a moderately steep hill. Sorta resembles a miniature Kilimanjaro.

DONE!  Finally, I can relax, go home, relax, get back into my bathrobe, relax, play computer games, relax, then generally do some more relaxing, after which I might sleep.

Nearly home, I realized I was nearly out of cigarettes, which I need to quit smoking, but haven’t, yet.

I sighed, turned the car around, and went to the nearest gas station: closed. It was after 10:30. I went to another, quite a bit further away, but which I knew was 24/7. There was, of course, a line. I waited while an old woman dickered about the price of a Malt Liquor. I waited while a young, and clearly stoned guy, scanned the rows and rows and rows of cigarettes, as if looking for some brand that hardly anyone carried, before asking for a pack of marlborough menthol, which he payed for with Pocket change. Four dollars and eighty-seven cents, of pocket change. Which he was too stoned to count correctly, causing even the guy behind the counter to confiscate the whole pile, count it, then return a pittance. Next was a woman who wanted some food, from the deli counter, but wasn’t sure what … I sorta zoned out during the question and answer session that followed, and which seemed to go on for a pretty long time. Meanwhile, the guy behind me, spotting that we’d be awhile, began explaining his life to me in a level of detail which can only be described as ‘excruciating’ …

“Sir? Can I help you?”

FINALLY!!!! I was at the head of the line! I asked for my smokes, paid with my card, tried to leave but the guy with the long story behind me was now working up to asking me for a ride and could I just hang on a sec, while he bought some smokes? He began to engage the clerk in conversation as detailed as he’d had with me, during which I took the opportunity to escape …

Home. Bathrobe. Computer chair. A beer. Games. Late. Yawn. Bed. Crash.

About 20 minutes later, I was awakened by the muffled sound of my iPhone, still in my trowser’s pocket, across the room, draped over a stack of clean laundry.

I lurched out of bed, tripped, caught myself, got to the pants, got the phone out… not a call, a text message, from Kay:  “I forgot my medications… you may have to bail me out of Jail later, because I missed them last night, and really ought to take them tonight and who knows what might happen if I don’t …”

I’m an old man. My eyes aren’t the best. Plus they were blurry with sleep.  It took a little while to read and process the message. I typed my reply:  “You want me to bring them to you?”

“Only if it’s not too much trouble … they’re in my black bag on my bed …”

“ok” I texted back, wisely refraining from going into any detail regarding my feelings. Look, I love Kayla, and would do anything for her, and I damned well knew how important it was that she take her meds – but, wow, I was tired, and it was by now freaking freezing, and I knew that I couldn’t make her come to the car once I got there, because that would mean her descending, then re-climbing Kilimanjaro, in the freezing darkness, and she was hurting really badly …

So I’d end up climbing it instead. I sighed and headed into her bedroom.

They weren’t on the bed. Or in the Bathroom. Or her desk. Or dresser. Scanned the floor: no go. Not on the pile of stuffed animals. Not in any of the four huge purses laying around. Back to the bed; I began to strip it of pillows and covers. Finally found One cover with a suspiciously heavy lump.

Ok. Back into the freaking work clothes. Add a hoodie, because it’s cold. Have I mentioned that I always wear all black? Not important right now … out to the car, drive to his place, climb Kilimanjaro, pause panting at the top, just outside the guy’s apartment …

Suddenly, intense white light clawed, blinding at my eyes … I thought aliens. I thought stroke. I thought Angels. I thought the prize patrol…

Turned out to be a Cop. Training a bright extra heavy mag-light on the eyes of a guy wearing all black and a hoodie (see, it’s important now), carrying a little black bag, and lurking in the darkness outside an apartment …

:::  sigh :::

After explaining my business to the Cop, supported by, first Kayla, then Keelan, during which I handed over the bag of DRUGS, I had to listen to the cop explain that there had been a burglary in the vicinity and stolen things had been left in different places as the burglar ran, and had we seen anything and do you live here (put to each of us in turn), and have you seen anything unusual, and what’s all your names again, etc, etc, etc.

In the cold. Kayla began to shiver … as she’d come out in a t-shirt and jammy-pants. Keelan began to shiver: he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I began to shiver, because my hoodie wasn’t enough. The cop was wearing a nice thick coat and did not shiver and seemed to have all the time in the world to interrogate us, when two of us had already explained 6 times that we didn’t live there, didn’t know anything, wouldn’t know what was amiss if we stumbled across it and just fucking wanted to get in out of the cold.

I eventually left. I don’t know how long the cop kept them out.

I went home and got back into bed, finally falling asleep. Woke in the morning, and desperately wanted to sleep until the following morning.  Got up. Showered. Shaved. Brushed teeth. Dressed. Socks. Shoes. Keys. Stumble. Car. Door. Key-crank.  Yawn.

I’m hungry.

I’m really, gut-rumblingly hungry.  Never ate any supper last night.

I’m also dead broke. I remembered buying smokes last night:  I’d used my debit card. It had to be nearly out of dough. My other cards were full. I had no folding money at all. It was 7 days to payday …

The next gut-rumbling shook the little car.

I sighed, and reached for a prescription medicine bottle, in the glove-box.

It was full of quarters … coffee and a sausage biscuit was exactly  $3 at the gas station up the hill. I counted out 12 quarters.

Ambrosia.

photo

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~ by dourscot on March 7, 2013.

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