“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” -William Shakespeare
When ten o’clock came around, I deemed it was socially acceptable for me to leave the party. Clutching my purse, I slightly stumbled out the door. “Are you sure you don’t want to head out to the bar?”
I shook my head as I watched my hot breath cloud in the cold air. “Nah, I need some sleep. Work tomorrow,” I answered as Dana pouted her lips.
“Okay,” Dana replied disappointed. “I’ll see you tomorrow then.” I gave Dana one last hug and responded back, “Yep. And congratulations again.”
Jason slipped his leather jacket onto Dana’s shivering body and he asked, “At least let us walk you to your car.”
I waved my hands and insisted, “I’ll be fine really. I’m just around the block.” Walking the opposite direction of them, I added, “Go have fun. I’ll see you guys later.”
Clicking my heels onto the cracked concrete sidewalk, I made my way briskly to my car. Being in Summit Hill’s downtown area, at night no less, never settled well with me. The street always seemed empty, dark, but mostly held an eerie silence. That’s why I loved living in an apartment closer to the central city, one that had well light up streets and never seemed deserted.
I soon became twitchier as my eyes scan around me every five seconds. Crossing the deserted road, I headed to my car back up into an off street slanted spot. It wasn’t until I quickly jammed the key into the driver side door that I suddenly felt some relief.
Shutting the door I pressed the lock down and sighed. Relax Lexi. You’re okay. Safe in your car, I thought as I tried starting the car ignition.
Again, I turned the key hearing my junk of a car choke. “Come on,” I begged as I turned the key repeatedly forward. “Come on, damn it. I don’t have money for this. Come on!” I punch the steering wheel repeatedly and yelled in anger, “Son-of-a bitch.”
I glanced over to my passenger seat and grasp my purse in desperation to find my cell phone. Maybe I could call Dana to give me a ride back home? Pressing the buttons hard, I waited for Dana to pick up. But after three calls going directly to voice mail, I chucked my cell back into my purse. “What the hell am I suppose to do now?”
My green eyes drifted up to the window before me and notice for the first time a man staring at me from across the road.
How long was he there?
My hands began to sweat as I thought of my options. One I could walk back to the restaurant and see if anyone was still there. Or two, stay in the car and cling to my cell phone ready to dial 9-1-1.
I wonder if I could call them to help me? It’s not like I have a tow truck on sped dial. The man staggered back and forth down the other side of the road toward my direction.
I nearly jumped out of my skin as I whipped my head to the left of me. Peter had halfway pulled into the empty parking space next to me. He waved at me with a simple smile and rolled down his powered window. Crawling over to the passenger side, I crank my squeaky window down and he asked. “Hey, are you okay to drive?”
“Yeah.” I really didn’t have that much to drink, I tried thinking back. “My car broke down.”
“Well I’ll give you a ride home and then we’ll call a tow,” Peter said waving me over. My eyes glanced back in alert over to the cross section and I watched the limping man turn left.
Worked up for nothing. He probably didn’t even notice me.
“Are you still mad about your fish, that you’re second guessing my offered ride?” Peter called back joking.
Knowing I wasn’t in immediate danger anymore, I replied back, “Well you did flush him down the toilet.”
Swinging my door open, I made my way to the other side of my car as he responded, “I only wanted him to escape to the ocean so he could be back with his family.”
I opened my passenger door and quickly rolled up the window. When grabbing my purse with keys, I turned to him, “No matter how good your intentions were after watching ‘Finding Nemo’, he still was my fish.”
I slid into his passenger side and he responded as I buckled up, “I was doing him a favor. You could barely keep the lima bean alive for school.”
Backing out onto the street, I bickered, “That was a dumb project. Who cares about growing a plant anyway.” As I took one last glance at my antique of a car, I internally gave a heavy sigh. I knew I would have to work more hours to pay that hefty expense.
“Where to?” Peter asked as he pulled up to the stop sign and I observed the man had disappeared.
“Hit the main road and I’ll tell you where to go next,” I replied looking out of my window. His car was much newer than mine. A lot of bells and whistles, no scrapes or rust along the metal. It was even hard to detect a dirty spot on his windows.
Heck, I could still whiff the scent of fresh new car, I observed in slight envy.
“So how’s life in the city?” Peter asked breaking the silence.
“Okay I guess,” I responded back and added, “go down three lights and turn right.”
“What do you do now that you’re out of college? You’re out of college right?”
Why was he suddenly asking me so many questions?
“Yes I graduated and I cook at a diner.”
“You cook.” Peter glanced over affirming that my tone didn’t hold pride.
“Look I know it’s not the ideal job, but it pays the bills.”
“No need to get defensive. I wasn’t judging you. I have a lot of friends that do every day jobs being a waitress or a bar tender. They are very good at what they do. They realized the path they choice in college, just didn’t fit well.”
“I know what I want, it’s just no one has openings,” I said miffed at my widow.
His eyes kept on the road as he asked curiously, “What did you major in?”
“Art restoration and Conservation Studies.” I sighed, “But no one wants a person that’s new and little experience.”
Peter shook his head, “It is a vicious cycle.”
I glanced over to Peter suddenly struck with my own question, “What did you do?”
His brown eyes lit up in surprise, “Well, I moved to Ithaca to get my degree in Cornel and now I’ve been working as an architect.”
I suddenly felt small beside him.
He was accomplished person.
“Even though I have created, in my opinion some awesome structures, my boss hasn’t had interest in them yet.” Inside I felt a bit okay now knowing he too was still in the same boat as me.
“See this right turn coming up take it and I’m the fourth house on the left,” I directed again coming closer to familiar homes. I turned toward him observing his brows were scrunch up and I added, “Well our time to shine will happen.”
Peter pulled over in front of my apartment and his face turned to me with slight amusement, “And what makes you say that?”
I smiled back softly, “I have a little faith thanks to Dana’s preaching.”