Life After Lockup

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Dimitri and I decided to meet at the supermarket to help him get a few groceries. It’s been two days since I agreed to help him, so here I was at Freshmart Groceries sticking to my word.

I walked the aisles one by one in search of Dimitri. I walked past the bakery and the fresh produce sections and finally found him standing studying products in his hands, with a frown on his face.

I studied him before approaching. He was a tall man, his faded jeans and black t-shirt fit him well, showing his well-defined body. A hint of his tattoos peaked through his black hoodie jacket.

I walked over to him, and realized he was holding two different brands of toothpaste in his hands.

“Hey,” I said.

He jerked his head up, noticing me and smiled.

“Hey Lillie,” he said his eyes lighting up.

I blushed lightly at his gaze and looked down at the toothpaste. “What you doing?”

“I can’t decide which one to take, there’s too many options,” he said waving to the thirty other options of toothpaste stacked up on the shelves.

I giggled, guessing I could understand his point of view. He just came out of prison, everything was given to him, without any options. And out here in the world, you were overwhelmed by them.

“Here take this one,” I said grabbing the toothpaste from the rack. “I use this one, it’s a better brand, minty, clean and fresh.”

He smiled, bashfully, it was cute. He seemed slightly embarrassed about asking help, with the most trivial stuff. But I didn’t mind. I liked being needed.

“I hope I’m not becoming a burden already?” he said regarding me, with that intense look of his.

I looked away. “No, not at all Dimitri, I really don’t mind.”

He smiled softly.

“Let’s see what else we should get,” I said taking his basket from his hand, placing a pep in my step.

After getting some groceries and a few odd items for Dimitri, I got some groceries for myself too, just some fruit and baking ingredients.

We walked to my car together and he packed all the groceries in the trunk. I offered him to follow me to my house in his truck. He already knew where I lived anyway, what was the point of hiding it from him. I decided he could see my home.

I parked on the side of the street and Dimitri followed suit. He unpacked all the bags from my trunk and followed me to my front door. I could see he was hesitant about going inside my home, so was I to be honest, it was nerve wrecking to even suggest the idea to him. But isn’t that what friends do, they invite them over to their place right?

Dimitri entered the front door, and my heart skipped a beat. He followed me to the kitchen, and I gestured him to place the groceries on the counter. I couldn’t believe Dimitri was in my house. I glanced at the desk I wrote to him so often, imagining how he was like, and here he was standing in my kitchen, unpacking groceries. Never in my wildest imagination I would think this would happen.

After everything was done, we were silent for a moment. He looked at the darkening clouds outside through the window, lightning hit from the sky, a storm was brewing yet again. I looked over at him, I didn’t want things to be awkward between us. I wanted to make him feel comfortable in my home.

I had a sudden thought of realization, Dimitri knew only hard times, showing him kindness was the best thing I could do.

“Dimitri, would you like to stay for dinner?” I suggested nervously. He looked at me clearly in thought. He seemed hesitant, as if he didn’t want to intrude in my space.

“There’s a storm outside, you shouldn’t go out now anyway,” I continued. “I make a mean creamy chicken and mushroom pie… you have to taste it.” I hoped this gesture would make him feel at ease.

Dimitri relaxed slightly, giving me a warm smile.

“I would love that. I always wanted to taste your cooking,” he said fondly, licking his bottom lip.

Heat crept up my cheeks and I blushed. I looked up at Dimitri, and his smile widened.

He watched me as I started to cook. He observed me as I sliced the mushrooms, fried them in the sauce and placing them in the pie crust, watching me attentively all the way. There were moments, a shiver ran down my spine, knowing he was staring at me from behind.

I only wondered what he was thinking about?

We chatted about our favorite things that he and I liked. I learnt there weren’t much he actually liked or considered his favorite things. We didn’t touch much on his time in prison, he opened to me about a man named Jimmy and that he sadly passed away. I could see the remorse in his eyes. And I felt compelled to hug him, to comfort him, but I refrained. Dimitri looked so strong and resilient, he had a tough and rough exterior, but moments like this, my heart felt for him, he seemed vulnerable… almost broken.

The rain outside was subsiding, as the sound of droplets faded out. Dimitri looked up at the ceiling. I looked up too, a good-sized water mark was left by the storm.

I winced at the sight.

“I could look into that for you?” Dimitri said.

“Oh, there’s no need, I was going to get someone,” I replied.

Dimitri didn’t say anything further.

The aroma of chicken pie filled the kitchen, the herbs and baked pastry wafted from the oven as I opened it.

“Hmmm, smells delicious,” Dimitri said. His mouth was basically watering.

I swelled with pride.

I popped on my oven mittens and took the hot pie out of the oven. I placed it on the kitchen table and Dimitri followed sitting down on one of the chairs. I set up the table with two plates, two glasses and forks and knives, with a napkin for each plate.

I dished up a healthy portion of steamy hot chicken pie and placed it on Dimitri’s plate. I dished some pie for me too. Dimitri devoured his pie and asked for seconds, I obliged him.

“It’s the best pie I ever eaten,” he said smirking.

I smiled, blushing myself silly.

We spoke about his parole, how he had to check up each second week with his parole officer downtown and that he needed to get situated in a place soon. He was looking for apartments, but they were pretty expensive.

I made an impulsive decision. I couldn’t help what I said next.

“You could stay here for a while, till you get a permanent apartment. You could save your money instead and start off right?”

Dimitri blinked at me. I was shocked at myself for saying these words that just spilled out of my mouth. But it felt right to offer it.

Dimitri shook his head, “I couldn’t ask you to do that for me Lillie.”

“You asked me for help and I’m here offering it to you? don’t turn it down.” I said with purpose.

Dimitri thought for a moment and licked his lips, a gleam in his eyes. “Okay, I’ll stay here, only if I could fix the ceiling, there’s leaks everywhere. I have to be useful to you.”

I thought about it and agreed to the terms.

“I’ll be using you a lot then,” I said playfully.

“You can use me anyway you want Lillie,” he said suggestively.

He stared intensely at me again.

I gulped and cleared my throat.

“There’s more than leaks here, this house got a lot of kinks in it that needs fixing.” I said giggling nervously.

Dimitri smirked wickedly, “That’s even better, I’m sure there are other kinks too that could be attended to.”

A shiver ran down my spine.

Why do I feel like I would regret this decision?

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