“I see you’re still smiling and laughing today,” Rosa told me as we sat at Rodger’s eating.
“Am I embarrassing you?” I asked, genuinely concerned.
“Oh, Lord no,” she said. “I used to be a hooker, remember? It takes a lot to embarrass me.”
Today was ribs day at Rodger’s. For $5.25, you got a heaping serving of pit cooked baby back ribs, three vegetables, and a drink. A hearty deal you just couldn’t beat. I and Rosa sat eating like the ravenous creatures we were.
“I saw Ferret this morning,” Rosa then told me over the table.
“Was he drunk?” I asked.
“I couldn’t tell. I didn’t stop to talk to him. He kind of scares me.”
“Ferret is harmless,” I replied.
“I don’t know,” Rosa said. “He has that hungry look in his eyes. I don’t trust drunks.”
“Well, I am a drunk,” I replied.
“Silly, you know what I mean,” she said. “You’re not currently drinking. He is.”
I and Rosa finished our meals and I put the cost on my tab. We walked across the river and headed back to my house. I know I and Rosa look like an interesting couple walking through town. Charlie had told my father last night that he keeps seeing me walking around town with a strange woman. My father asked me about it last night.
“Charlie says he keeps seeing you with this woman around town.”
“Oh, that’s just Rosa,” I replied. “She’s my best friend these days.”
“You’re not dating her, are you?” he asked.
“What would it matter if I was?” I asked, growing uncomfortable with this line of questioning. “I am 35 years old.”
My father dropped the subject and went on to finish preparing the chicken salad he was fixing.
“You don’t have to get testy,” he said as he was putting some chicken breasts in his crock pot to slow cook overnight.
I am pretty forgiving of my father’s intrusions into my life as far as my mental illness and the drinking goes, but I draw a line at my friends and relationships and he usually knows this. I don’t blather about Rosa, George, and the Gang to him as I know it would only worry him about the company I keep some days. We are definitely an odd ball group of misfits and my father would worry that I am being unduly influenced by these strange characters. What you don’t know won’t hurt you as the saying goes. The same holds true as far as my intimate friendships are concerned with regards to my father.