Segment 27: When a Third World Came West

                        I took Sam the next day to Our Daily Bread which was the homeless shelter located onCentral Avenueparallel toOrange Avenueand kitty corner to the Bob Carr Theater onWest Livingston streetand across from the Omni Hotel where my uncle had had his wedding.  I held onto the steering wheel of my Volkswagen and promised him that if he slept here everynight that I’d get him or buy him dinner and bring him lunch anyway I could and I gave him all the best blankets we had, the two chenille ones that were blueberry and raspberry colored, and he took them with him.  So I drove almost aimlessly home in my brown pantsuit feeling I’d done the right thing anyway after I’d applied at Lynx, the city busline, waiting to hear back.  And I drove home passed the building where I used to see my old psychiatrist who’d tested me for ADHD,  then Mead Gardens, passed the law office of my father’s best friend whom I’d worked and slipped up at it, for.  And then I drove past more places like the streets that lead down to my high school where I’d slipped up on my grades to write in the back of the room during boring classes like oceanography where we’d watched Jack Cousteau films over and over.  Then I rode past the Firestone where I went one time after I’d had a flat tire driving too fast when I was late to school one day as a senior in the morning.  After I’d kept coming across all these places with these kinds of memories  I turned down Winter Park Road to get a better perspective, hoping that I’d drive past something that I remembered where a good memory came to my mind.  But there were the rich Spanish missionary houses of the families I’d babysat for from whom I’d ate leftovers out of fridges, talked all night from their phones to guys and girlfriends.  At a stoplight I hit my head against the back of my seat and felt down.  I didn’t want to look around at the intersection I was at because I didn’t want to see say, the lawyer dad of one of the girls I’d babysat for driving home at rush hour who’d look back and see me, his babysitter, who’d messed up.  I felt like I was gonna sit here in this city my whole life and just see the same people I saw stare back and think “What has she come to…”  And then right off I regretted leaving Elon even though I’d told myself I wouldn’t, that I wouldn’t look back and feel bad because I’d promised Sam the same thing except now I did.  I was supposed to have moved up out, away and North Carolina was the first step to doing all that but how’d I get back here, the place that reminded me of where I’d slipped over and over again; I couldn’t get away from myself.  The light turned green and I sped up keeping my eyes only on the red sedan in front of me with the lisence plate from Georgia because I didn’t want to see anything out of my peripheral vision but I still couldn’t keep thoughts from swimming around that the person in front probably finished college all from the same place, that their parents were proud of them, that they probably had a watch and made the honor roll in high school for being on time and for perfect attendance. At the last stoplight before my street I concluded that the probability of every car in front of me had or would never bring back and forth breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a relationship to an outcast homeless shelter everyday and I suddenly felt hot, grimy, and tired in my stiff clothes keeping my mind on a shower and a big bar of soap above everything else there was to do and sort out ahead of me.

I pulled my Volkswagen up our hill of a driveway already feeling like the chunky silver on my right hand’s ring finger was for me being married and I let Sam out first as I pulled up my emergency brake and studied the overgrown grass behind the chain link fence belonging to our neighbor Mr. Krutch, that intimidated our short even cut yard mowed down every Thursday by our landscaper Joseph. I got out and ran around the front of my car knocking my knee into the top of the three tiered emblem’s metal grill until I got to the door before Sam did, opening it with my key first, picking up a paper bag of groceries on the antique chest that held our mail, searching around through the house for Amira, our cleaning lady.  After I motioned with my hand to Sam from the front of the foyer I told him he could go back into my dad’s dressing area to borrow a suit and he picked out a black pinstriped one along with a corn blue button down dress shirt that he’d ordered from Rutlands almost five years ago.  Sam motioned towards my parents’ wooden storage closet where a tie rack hung with so many ties but I pulled him along and past the kitchen into my room where I made him get dressed in there while I rifled through my wicker trunk chest that I’d gotten for Christmas seven years ago.  I pulled down a red carry-on luggage bag from the top of my closet and folded twice a white dress with satin crinoline at the bust, an empire waist with a thin satin sheen below this that was no thicker than a white dinner napkin.  I took out from a shoe box a pair of  four inch square cream heels with a back strap and a leather strip running along the top and put them in the luggage bag beside the white dress and a box I’d saved in there, filled with a set of diamond costume jewelry earrings with one of the jewels missing.  I turned around to see Sam’s hands swimming in the cuffs of my father’s coat sleeves and looked down at the black loafers Sam had stolen inNorth Carolina to see the ends of his pants’ legs bunched up at his feet.  I didn’t care much and I slipped on my old black moccasins from Walmart that I’d had forever, peeked out from the sliding wooden drawer of my bedrooms’ hallway and motioned again in silence for him to come on.  I ran to the front of the door before he got to me to peek out through the glass to see if Amira had driven up the driveway with her music loud and the plastic necklaces dancing from her rearview mirror or anyone else and I locked the front door.  I walked up towards him to pull him along out the garage and through the side door where I came out the side of the chain link fence that stood up to my neighbors’ yard and saw Mr. Krutch because Mr. Krutch had not kept the curtains closed to his picture window that stretched along back his living room since his wife passed away five years ago and so I could see the back of him on his couch watching a football game on TV.  Sam got into the car quickly and so I put my bag into the backseats’ door and I got in.  Not five minutes later though and I was back pulling up again because Sam was complaining about the length of his coat swearing that he could find a better fitting one if I were to just pull back up to the house so he could run in and measure.

            We parked on East Robinson street two blocks from the courthouse and to the left of Lake Lily and after Sam got out first to catch up to me on the sidewalk I pulled out my red carry-on luggage bag and wheeled it up to Edgewater Drive where a turquoise honda honked in our way when Sam stepped out too close to moving cars going through the green light at the rush-hour 12:30 lunch time.  I turned around to hide behind my luggage feeling transparent with my white dress already inside it until the light turned red and Sam pulled my arm to cross the street and up the stairs to where we’d parked two days ago so we could purchase our marriage silence.  We knew the drill and we walked up three more flights until we got access to the elevator that brought us into the building, we hurried through the waxed marble floor to the elevator that brought us up to the seventh floor and we turned left into the entrance to the justice of the peace, an office kitty corner to the county clerks’ office where I would be collecting a a receipt stub four months later after issuing a restraining order preventing Sam from ever coming near me again.


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