Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trashy Stories

Of course the trash we set out at the curb reveals a lot about us. It's everything we've used up, discarded, and don't want in our lives any longer. As I was walking through my neighborhood yesterday morning, though, I got to thinking that you can also invent stories about people's trash.

Take this one, for example. It contained five pizza boxes, but I didn't focus in on them. Instead, I kept thinking about the silver sun screen and that pink silk rose......

After Max just vanished from Trisha's life, then sent a post card from the Florida Keys that said, "Having the time of my life, glad you're not here", life with their four boys had been hard. Really hard.

Trish stopped taking care of herself, let her hair hang in her face and gained ten pounds, but she continued to be a top notch mom to her children. Each day was a grind, get up at 4 AM, make breakfast and lunches for everyone, drop the kids off at three different schools, and make it to work at McDonald's. She had come to hate people, wished they'd stop eating the greasy, chemical filled garbage she served with a pasted-on smile.

Then one day, life got considerably brighter. She was working the window, as usual, when a black, shiny Mazda-RX8 pulled up. The driver was alone. He had a look about him, sort of like an apologetic puppy dog who's not used to being loved. But he was cute, like Bobby DeNiro cute in his younger days. He hadn't looked through her like everyone else did who rushed through to grab a sack lunch. When she opened the window, he sat studying her face. And then he smiled that playful, boyish smile she would come to know. He said, "What gourmet delicacy would you recommend today, beautiful lady?"
"I would recommend that your drive forward, turn right onto the street, and go on down to Vino's." He laughed and said, "I'm in a tearing hurry. Just give me a burger and a Coke." When she handed him his order, he said, "But I'm new in town, and Vino's sounds pretty good. How about you and I go there tonight?"
"Oh, I can't, I've got four boys, and I don't get out much."
"Four boys, huh? I have three girls. They're worth all the trouble, huh?"
"Yes. They are."

And for three weeks, he had shown up at her window everyday for a Coke and a burger. They would talk while he waited, and she learned that his name actually was Robert, but he didn't like being called Bobby. He was divorced and had been transferred to the area to manage Dillard's. Trish took to looking longer in the mirror in the mornings, highlighted her hair and held it back with clips. She stopped eating the food where she worked.

Then one day he asked again, "Do you think you might find time to go to Vino's for with me this weekend? I was thinking we might get a sitter and leave our kids at your house or mine, along with a bunch of pizza." She had hoped he'd ask again, but she hesitated so as not to seem too eager. "Yeah, I think I know people, and you seem like a nice guy."
"I am a nice guy, when someone gives me half a chance."

They'd left the seven kids at Trisha's house the following Saturday, the smell of pizza filling the house, with her cousin as babysitter. She had decided lunch at Vino's was better, and then she could be back with her kids by dark. Robert opened doors for her, told her how pretty she was, and the day had started off wonderfully. After lunch, they'd gone for a drive in the country, and he opened the glove box and handed her a pink silk rose with a frilly pink ribbon around the stem and a note attached. Trish had mentioned once that pink was her favorite color. She smiled as they whisked down the tree-lined lane and opened the note. It said, "Trisha, this rose is a token of my love for you. I want you to marry me and be a mother to my children, and I'll be a father to yours. I will be a devoted husband, forever, and you will never have to work at that window again."

She looked up at him, puzzled. "Robert, this is very sweet. I mean, is it a joke?"
"Why would it be a joke?" he replied, "I thought you felt the same way about me."
"No, well, I mean, I really like you, and I was hoping we could spend some time together and maybe, someday...."
"Maybe someday? What's wrong with today? I took you to lunch, treated you like a queen, opened my heart to you, and you ask if it's a joke?" He was driving much too fast, and she was getting more scared by the minute.

"Robert, stop the car! You're behaving like a crazy man!"
"Crazy? Me? You sound just like my ex!" He did pull over, into a path that led to a pasture. Trish fumbled with the door handle and then jumped out but stood staring at him, wondering how this day had gone so wrong. He opened his door but not before he carefully arranged a folding sun screen in his window, taking care to position it just right. Then he sprang from the car, came around to her and put his arms on her shoulders. She thought he was going to apologize, but he shook her violently and said in a steely voice, "Now, let's forget all this coy behavior. You know it's right between us. You felt it the same as I did that first day. I've already got your ring, and I was going to give it to when we went to my house just up the road, while we made love."
"Robert, you've got this all wrong! People don't just go out once and then get married!"
He looked crushed. "That's what the others said. That's why they're dead."

Panic flooded over her. Out of the corner of her eye she was watching the highway, praying for an oncoming car, but there was none. She jerked out of his grasp and began running toward the barbed wire fence. As she fought to climb it, the barbs tore her clothes and skin, but she made it over just as he caught up and grabbed the sleeve of her blouse. She pulled frantically, then jerked the front open, sending buttons flying, and left him standing on the other side of the fence, holding the lavender and lace blouse she'd bought just for this day. She took off running across the wide field, and he stood there, looking after her. He called, "I'm not running after you, Trisha. You'll have to go home sometime, and I'll be there with our kids, waiting for you............."

So, that's a five minute start on a story that could get kind of interesting :)
Thanks for stopping by!

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