The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 112

A Girl In The Night

Rich had the natural inclination at times to be with those his age for a moment of adolescent chatter and carefree optimism of the world around. He sat in the student sections when reporting on basketball games, but he was looked upon with a degree of suspicion by the students and faculty. On occasion he sat at booths next to teenagers in restaurants where the conversations were overheard. He was often saddened not to be able to just enjoy his own adolescence heart as an adolescent should. However, he rationalized that it was his choice and had to live with it.
It was mid May. Rich was restless and neither music nor books abated his mood. He slipped on his cloths and went to a diner on the edge of town. It was a place teenagers frequented. He was not looking for the stimulation of a bar with load music, drinks, and one night love. He wanted companionship of those his age.
He sat at a booth and ordered a coffee and banana cream pie and stared out at the evening.
A car driven by a blond wavy haired boy sped into the parking lot. He slid to a halt in the gravel. A girl got out. She slammed the car door. The car drove away throwing stones. She held her face in her hands and sobbed.
The waitress brought the bill.
“Lovers’ quarrel,” she said. “I’ve had a few of ‘em.”
“Not me,” Rich said. “Stay out of love… stay out of trouble.”
“That’s me,” she said. “I ain’t ever gonna love again.”
Rich handed the waitress a dollar. “Keep the change.”
“Now that’s love,” she said.
Rich walked to his Jeep. He watched the girl walk to the street and toward town. He sat and waited to see if her boyfriend would return. He watched until she disappeared beyond the glow of the diner’s lights.
Rich drove the Jeep towards town. She suddenly appeared in the headlights. Her hair bobbed up and down as she walked. Her blue plaid skirt swung as she walked. Rich was concerned for her and pulled alongside. Rich saw she was in deep distress. Her face was red and drawn down. She glanced at Rich, frightened and continued in a quickened pace.
“Can I take you home,” Rich said through the unzipped widow.
She continued walking.
“Look, if you keep walking that’s fine,” Rich said. “But I’m going to follow you until you get a ride from your boyfriend or you get home. I’m not letting you out here alone.”
She continued to walk without looking at Rich. She even ran for awhile. She stopped and turned to Rich. “Leave me alone.”
“As soon as you get a ride or get home,” Rich said.
“I’m scared, so leave me alone please,” she said sniffling. She began walking fast again.
“Was that your boyfriend?” Rich said. “I was back at the diner and saw what happened.”
“Ex boy friend,” and her crying intensified. “And I love him so much. How could he do this to me?”
“I can’t leave you out here,” Rich said. “I just can’t.”
“You take my car and get back to town,” Rich said. “Have your Dad bring my keys to the newspaper tomorrow. I work there. I’ll walk home.”
“Thanks, but I don’t know how to drive,” she said.
“Well, it’s really quite easy,” Rich said. He stopped and turned off the engine and ran up to her.
She winced as Rich got near. Rich dangled the keys. “Let’s try it.”
“No I can’t,” she said.
“Take take the keys. We’ll go step by step and when you get to the part you can’t step forward anymore we’ll just take a step back.”
“I got to be home by midnight,” she said.
“We better get started,” Rich said.
They jerked and hopped down the road. At first she was frightened and then she was laughing. They were having such a great time that they hardly took notice of the flashing red lights from a state trooper behind them.
“I don’t have a permit,” she said.
“Don’t worry,” Rich said. “It’s all on me.”
The officer approached the jeep. “Can I see your license please?”
She was trembling.
“Officer, she’s not licensed. It’s my fault,” Rich said. “I was trying to teach her how to drive.” Rich handed him his license.
“Larsen!” He said. “Is that you?”
“Yeah it’s me,” Rich said.
“Waldman, we worked together on the murder out on the island.”
Rich walked back to the cruiser with the patrolman. He explained how the girl was abandoned and how he was trying to distract her emotional distress. Waldman advised Rich to drive the girl home and drive carefully.
The girl and Rich started laughing as soon as they drove out of sight of the patrolman.
“Can you let me out before we get to our block,” she said. “You know, leaving with one guy and coming home with another. The neighbors might talk.”
“Which house is yours?” Rich asked.
“The one with the light in the front window.”
“Ok, you walk home and as soon as your home safe turn off the light. I won’t leave until then.”
“Oh by the way,” Rich said. “What is your name?”
“Anne Sunders,” she said.
Rich extended his hand, “And I’m Rich Larsen.”
“Nice to meet you, Rich,” she smiled.
“It’s nice to see your smile,” Rich said. “It’s a beautiful smile.”
She turned and abruptly dashed away causing Rich to wonder if he was too forward. He watched her walk up the driveway and into the house. She unlocked the front door and went in. The light soon went out, but Rich could not leave at first. He thought about her tears, her smile, and her hair. Her heart was so broken and she was abandoned. The guy did not even have the decency to take her home or at least to town. Rich wondered if her smiled warmed the ex boyfriend as much as it did him. It was a smile that invited all to join. Her hair was dark and shined. Rich wanted to touch it.

Rich drove to the apartment and thought of nothing else until he fell asleep.