I slid the key in the lock and opened the driver’s side door. Chip pushed me aside and slid in the seat. He rummaged through the storage space between the two seats and popped the glove compartment open, pushing papers aside. He even looked in the back and under all of the seats.
“Pop the trunk,” He demanded.
“Get real, Chip, why would it be in the trunk?” I sat back on my heel.
“Just open the damn trunk like I said.” He walked to the back of the car and waited for me to push the release button by the steering wheel. I heard the ‘wa-hump’ of the trunk’s lock popping and the squeak of the hinges as he lifted the lid.
“Damn Tessa, what do you do vacuum the trunk?” He stared into the empty compartment; the only items were the spare tire, a small portable jack, a tire iron and a road side emergency kit Paul had purchased the last time he changed the oil.
“I told you I didn’t have the CD. I put everything of yours in the box I already gave you.” He slammed the trunk lid closed.
“I know you have it, so I want you to go home, find it and bring it back to me.” He crossed his arms, “Now.”
“No.” I couldn’t even believe that he was asking me to do that.
“No?” He uncrossed his arms and leaned towards me as if he hadn’t heard me right.
“No. What part of that are you confused about?”
“No?” He took a step towards me. I was getting tired of this back and forth thing.
“NO! I don’t have your fucking CD and even if I did I would have thrown it out!” I yelled out of exhaustion by ridiculousness of the situation.
He abruptly pushed me into the back of the car. Instinctively I used the keys in my hand as a weapon, jabbing them into his arm.
“Shit! You…bitch!” He grabbed his arm and inspected it to see if he was bleeding. He looked back at me and his hand went straight to my neck, the force was so strong that my feet left the ground as my body slid up the trunk of my car. I flashed back to Nicky’s hand around my neck and for a moment that’s whose face I saw staring back at me. I closed my eyes tight and opened them back up hoping that it wouldn’t be Nicky still standing there. When I opened my eyes, I was oddly relieved to see that it was Chip. When our eyes met, he released his grip and I slid back down the car’s trunk. I gasped in the night air, massaging my neck and still feeling the heat of where his hand pressed against my skin. He turned and walked towards his truck, got in, revved up the engine and peeled out spraying gravel over several of the cars parked nearby.
I bent over with my hand still around my neck, not believing what had just happened I started puking in the gravel. The more air I was able to breathe in the harder I puked. Unable to stand upright, I leaned over with my hands on my knees, crying. The tears burned in my eyes, I reached up and wiped my nose with my sleeve. When I was finally able to stand up straight, I looked around to see if anyone had witnessed what had just occurred.
The door of the bar was fogged up and I could see the blurry image of Lisa but couldn’t make out who she was talking to. I slowly walked back towards the building, trying to compose myself. When I opened the door Lisa’s eyes went directly to the red hand print that was imprinted around my neck. Her eyes narrowed at me and she already knew the answer to the question that came out of her mouth.
“What the hell happened to your neck?” She grabbed my arm to stop me in my tracks. I looked at her pleadingly to keep her voice down. I moved in closer to talk to her without others hearing what I said.
“It’s okay. He left, I’m fine” I assured her.
“No you’re not.” She still hadn’t let go of my arm.
“Please Lisa, he’s gone and I just want to let it go.” I tried hard to push the tears back and not start crying all over again. She released my arm and turned towards the door when it opened. Chip stepped back in and she stopped him before he got over the threshold.
“Where do you think you are going?” She asked him.
“To get a beer, you have a problem with that?” Oh crap. Lisa’s posture straighten which added another inch to her already towering height and she looked down at Chip’s balding head.
“Actually I do. Chip you are barred from here until I say you can come back. Is that clear?”
“You can’t do that!” he laughed, “Besides you don’t have a good reason too.” He stepped in further and she grabbed him by his arm. He pulled it back trying to release her grip without success.
“I don’t need a reason. The only reason I need is that said you are barred.” Lisa looked over at one of the bouncers and nodded to him to come over, “Jose, I think that this gentlemen needs to memorize what the outside of this bar looks like. Would you mind giving him a tour?”
With that, Jose walked Chip out the door and this time Chip did not argue.
Two more years would pass. Lorene got remarried to a guy she met at the Kabooty after a short six-month relationship. Marta married Ben the year after that. I caught the bouquet at both weddings. You know that whole thing where the girl that is the lucky one who catches the bouquet will be the next to fall in love and get married? Yeah, that’s a load of crap.
Laura had started coming around again after we ran into each other at Marta and Ben’s wedding. A new club had opened in town called Jupiter’s and we decided to check it out one weekend. My neighbor Sandy, her sister Elena and a mutual friend of ours named Teresa tagged along. It was a great night out. I had decided to be the designated driver because I hated the way I felt after a Saturday night of drinking. I did feel like I had been out too much lately even though I only went out every other weekend, but I felt guilty about going to bars when I had a child.
“You’re allowed to have some fun Tess!” Lorene told me on the phone one night, “Just because you have a kid doesn’t mean you have to stop living! So stop feeling so guilty. Besides what else is there to do in this town? All we have are bars, churches and pizza places. The pizza places only have pizza and churches only have married men. Bars are all that are left!”
I laughed but it didn’t make me feel any better. I had finally reached a place where I wanted to settle down, find someone who would fall madly in love with me and I really wanted to start back to church without having someone holding rules over my head. To have a healthy Christian relationship with someone I could take care of and could take care of me, someone who wanted to get married. Was that too much to ask? It seemed all of my friends were getting married and soon I would be the only single person left.
Being a single mom wasn’t easy. Sure I had help from my parent’s and Nicky’s parents and I was grateful that I still had a few more years before I had to deal with Nicky and the supervised visitations, but being a single mother was still hard.
I had a good feeling that things were going to start changing for the better. I hoped my feeling was right.
Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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