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Monday, October 13, 2014

Goodbye Girl


There's this guy.  We're not friends.  I met him through a girl I know, Lucy.  She's nice.  She works at the C-Town.  I get my groceries there.  I usually go the night before my son comes to stay with me, some weekends.

Kirin is six years old and lives with his dad.  I buy macaroni and cheese, cereal, peanut butter and bread.  These are his favorite foods.  On Fridays, we go to the pizzeria.  On Saturdays, I cook.  I get drunk both nights after he goes to sleep.

"I love powdered donuts," Lucy told me one evening as she rang up my selections.  "I bet I could eat a whole box."
"I like the chocolate ones," I replied.  "These are for my kid."
"I got a kid.  He's almost two.  We stay with my aunt."

I paid for my things and crossed the street.  I picked out two movies at the video shop.  Cartoons.  You don't need a credit card to rent from there.  I went next door and bought wine at the liquor store, a box and a bottle.

"Hey, do you work?" Lucy asked the next time I saw her.
"Yeah, I work."
"Where at?"
"In Manhattan."
"What's your job?"
"I'm a secretary."

I tried to figure out how old Lucy is.  It's hard to tell with all that eye makeup.  I guess it's not important.  She talks like she's young.  She may be nineteen, but who knows?  She could be my age.

"So, you like it?"  Again, with the questions.
"Like what?"
"Being a secretary."
"Oh.  I guess."
"I need to get me a job like that," she said.  "You want paper or plastic?"

I can tell that Lucy wishes we were better friends.  She invites me places, but I don't want to lead her on.  I'm not much interested in anyone else's drama.  I have plenty of my own to keep me busy.  Besides, there's something about that girl that makes me nervous.  She seems lost and desperate.  Perhaps she reminds me of myself.  I try not to think about what I'm really like.

I saw Lucy standing outside the supermarket one evening when I was walking home from the train.  She shared a cigarette with two young Puerto Rican dudes in blood-soaked aprons.  I assumed they worked in the meat department.  At least, I hoped so.

"This is Mary," she told them.  "She's like my sister.  Mi hermana."
They spoke to her in Spanish, and she laughed.
"They're funny," she said.  "They want to know if you get high."
"Sometimes.  Why?"
"You should give me your phone number."
I guess I could make a little room for her, I thought to myself.

Lucy has two brothers.  I can't remember their names.  I went to a party at their apartment one night during the summer.  They live over the stores by the subway.

Lucy and I did a little blow before we arrived.  And they had a keg, which is always generous.  I was feeling pretty good.  Not too tight to mingle.  Plus I had my speed so I could drink a lot.  I waited in line for the privacy of the bathroom to snort my drugs.  I hate standing still.  I finished my beer.  I kept forgetting the bottle was empty and found myself putting it to my lips.  I was getting shit-faced.

Anyway, this guy was there.  The one I mentioned earlier.  For the life of me, I can't recall his name, either.  I'm pretty sure it's one syllable, like Mark or Paul.  I think it's Mark.

I could feel him staring at me as we stood in the hallway between the bedrooms.
"I know you," he said.
"No, you don't."
"Yes, I do."
"Oh, yeah?  Then, what's my name?"

The door to the bathroom opened.  Four girls filed out, yapping away like puppies.

"It doesn't matter.  I know you."  He raised his hand close to his face and pointed a finger in my direction.  He tapped that same finger against his nose.

"You can come in, if you want."
Turns out, he did know me.  Very well.

Eight hours later, Lucy was gone as were most of the other guests.  There's just me, him and three people I'd never met before.  But we were all great friends.  That's the beauty of cocaine at parties.  The fellowship.
So now, there's this guy.  Mark, I think.  I'll admit, I go looking for him when I am drunk.  When I want to get high and have no money.  He always has coke.

Problem is Mark knows where I live.  He was in the car when a few of us were driving around.  And then, I got dropped off at my house.  He knocks on my door late at night, and it freaks me out.  I don't like for him to just show up.  Yes, I love his crystal.  The shit is good.  But he is weird.  And half stupid, I think.

So I pretend I'm not home when he comes around.  Once, I even unplugged the lamp after I heard him tapping on the window with his fingernails.  They are long and dirty.

He sang and whispered my name, laughing to himself.  "Mary, Mary.  Why you bugging?"  I could hear him pissing against the side of the building.  I stood there in the dark and waited for him to go away.  Then I took a shower and walked over to his place.  It's only about fifteen blocks away.  I can get loaded and still be able to leave when I want.  I prefer it this way.

I know that sounds stupid.  I do so many stupid things.

*******

I am lying on my belly, and he is on top of me.  I am full of rum and sugary pineapple soda.  That's all he has to drink here, and I finished all the wine I brought.  It feels like he will never be done.  I try not to think I will throw up, but the barf is already in the back of my throat.  It's difficult to not envision it filling my mouth.  I squeeze my eyes shut tightly, pretending they are the valve that controls what happens next.

Finally.  Thank God.

I get up and go to the bathroom.  I vomit while I'm in there.  Immediately, I feel much better.  I rinse my face and step on a cat turd that's been shat outside a filthy litterbox.  I wash my foot with water.  There is no soap.  I am tired, but I'm not sleeping here.  Besides, there's still coke left.

I flush the toilet and come back to where Mark is laid out on the floor.  I step over him and sit at the table.

"Are you okay?" he asks.
"Yeah."
"Don't be an animal.  Save me some," he says.

I wait a few minutes.  Until I hear his breathing is regular.  Until I know that he's asleep.  Then, I do it all.

*******

I just remembered.  His name was Paul.  Not Mark.

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