I never made it to the birthday party yesterday. I called my father in a panic and told him I would be staying home. I was adamant that he not argue with me about it. He complied.
“I just want you to be okay,” he said, understandingly. “We will bring you over some cake and a meal after the party.”
Dad showed up much later in the afternoon with some chocolate cake, a gift card to Belk’s for $500 to buy me some new clothes, and a supper plate. Dad had cooked chopped sirloin wrapped in bacon, baked potatoes, barbeque bread, and a salad with homemade blue cheese dressing. The meal was delicious and I shared my good fortune with Maggie.
Rosa then called me late last night having a hard time. Sometimes, when I am having a tough day, it is easy to get lost in another’s problems and I threw myself to the lions so to speak. I drove over to Rosa’s rundown house to pick her up. We then swung through the drive-thru at Wendy’s late last night to get a frosty and went for a long drive. Rosa was having a terrible go with her addictions.
“What was crack cocaine like?” I asked her, curious, as we drove way out into the country far beyond the city limits.
I was hoping by us talking about it, it would dispel that spell of the drug that had a hold of her last night.
“The first time was like the best sex you’ve ever had,” she said. “The last time was like the worst sex you ever experienced. You keep using hoping to experience that first time, but it never happens again.”
“My drinking was the same,” I said. “Except it took years to get that way. I got to where I drank to feel better, but it didn’t actually make me feel better. I felt worse. It was just a habit.”
“And a hard habit to break, it is,” Rosa replied, forlornly.
Midnight found me pulling up into my driveway with Rosa sound asleep in my passenger’s seat. I woke her and we both went upstairs as I turned on some lights and turned on the central heating and air. I pulled back the covers on the large king sized bed in the back bedroom for Rosa.
“You sure you don’t mind me staying the night?” she asked.
“I think we have both had a tough day, today, and I would welcome the company,” I replied. “Think of this as your safe house.”
I walked downstairs to get Rosa one of my XXL cotton t-shirts to sleep in and told her good night. She gave me a hug and told me thanks for being such a good friend. Rosa just doesn’t realize how much and how selfishly I need her as well. It is easy for me to forget about my own problems when I get entangled with hers. I finally retired to my own bed comforted that another soul besides me and Maggie was in the house. I thought wistfully of calling this house on 4th avenue the lonely hearts club. We misfits and societal deviants need a safe place to hang out as well. Good day.