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Now I Lay Me Down

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I saw a head and elbow headed for the curb, as if coming to rest on a pillow. I had just picked up a young lady from work, exhausted after a long day, so the ride was quiet but for occasional pleasantries. It was about 20 minutes before closing time, not terribly busy yet this far north. As we approached her stop, I noticed legs sticking well out into the parking spaces, and feet, perilously close to my lane. “Oh dear”, I sighed, “not the safest place to sleep this late at night.” and pointed. My passenger nodded.

Our stop was right around the corner, but I knew if I didn’t circle back around I’d worry all night.

“Is the street ahead one way? I am going to circle back around and I want to get there quickly.”

“It is”, she replied. “But if you’re going, I’ll come with you.”

I knew she was tired and what a sacrifice this was for her. I was grateful for the companionship, and the feeling of safety she provided.

We made our way around the block. Thankfully a gentleman pushing a grocery cart full of his worldly possessions had come to the aid of the young man in the street. He took off just as we pulled to a stop. My passenger got out and went to talk to the impeccably dressed young man who stood just beyond the curb, weaving, and looking confusedly up at the buildings. I parked the car and joined them.

By the time I made my way over, she had gotten part of an address from him, and was trying to determine if he had his keys. We both questioned him a bit more until we found both keys and a complete address. He lived in her building, one floor up. Kismet.

She loaded him into the car and I drove us back around the corner. We managed to get him upstairs and with a bit of a struggle, got his door unlocked and him inside. He was surprisingly hospitable for his level of inebriation, and invited us in. We both declined, but remained in the hallway. Neither of us wanted to leave until we knew he was safely inside with his keys in his hand and his door locked. That took a bit more doing.

We walked back down the hallway so she could point me at the exit on the way to her apartment. She laughed that it wasn’t her first time coming to the aid of a drunk person while using a rideshare. Before parting ways, we turned for a hug. I thanked her again, it would have been a lot harder without her help, and a bit scary.

I see a lot of things driving at night you don’t really want to see, but rarely do I get the chance to do something to change the outcome. Or meet such a wonderful partner in crime. It was a few minutes before I logged in again, I had to catch my breath and stem the flow of tears.

People surprise you quite often, but rarely in such beautiful ways.

I Keep On Falling

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A message drops in my inbox from a name I don’t recognize.

A week of chatting back and forth and he convinces me to come to watch the game with the rest of the group. My life had just been turned upside down and when that happens, my instinct is to turtle.

“Pick yourself up and dust yourself off, girl. It doesn’t get easier, you have to move forward, one step at a time. It’s one game, you’ll survive. Dating is going to be even scarier.” My pep talk to myself isn’t particularly convincing or effective, but I decide to go. I need to break patterns, and I learned long ago, sometimes going backward is the quickest way to move forward. Sometimes you need to worry less about direction and more about momentum.

So I went. I arrived late and ended up in a corner away from the group. Away from him. We chatted through Facebook throughout the game, waved a perfunctory hello. “This wasn’t how I planned this, lol.” says my inbox.

Eventually the crowd started to thin. A hand reaches out and grabs my drink. “Come on, let’s talk”. And for the next however long, until the game is over, as people slowly leave, until we are the only two sitting at the table; and then for another hour.

I reach for my tea and I spill it all over the table. In a moment the world shifts, my cheeks flush hot. When it comes to my heart these days, I’m too jaded, too defensive, my walls too high. Nobody gets me flustered, not unless I decide to let them in. I didn’t chose this and a part of me resents the hell out of it. A part of me doesn’t care. In my confusion, humiliation and wanton school-girlishness, I catch his quick smirk of victory. He knows, just as surely as I know, that I am already sunk.

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