"Well this is just great," Debbie mumbled to herself. Giving the double doors another pull in case they were just stuck, Debbie sighed and pressed her hands against the glass door to peer inside. Damn it, not a soul in sight. Turning around, Debbie started to tug at her gloves and sleeves to cover her chilled skin. "Now what?" she wondered as her breath puffed in front of her. Looking around, she noticed light was beaming on to the sidewalk a few blocks down.
Patting her arms to keep warm, she set off towards the welcoming light. As she got closer, she realized it was a library. Wright Reading Room was written on the sign out front. Carefully navigating the snow-covered stairs, Debbie made her way to the front door. A small sign to the right of the door declared a librarian was on duty only from the hours of 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. A twenty-four hour library?
Pressing down the latch, Debbie felt a sigh of relief escape her lips as it effortlessly swung open. It smelled of new books as well as a light scent of lemon from a spray cleaner or something. "So drab and ordinary," she said aloud to the empty room. Shrugging her shoulders, Debbie began looking for a sofa or a plush chair to sleep in. Finding nothing suitable, she pulled off her sweater and jacket, balled them up and laid out on the floor by the computers. I hope you're happy, Adam. This million simoleon model is sleeping on the floor!
The next morning, Debbie woke up with a pain in her neck and a small child staring intently into her face. "Why are you sleeping on the floor, Lady?" Feeling groggy and sore, Debbie answered with the full brunt of her diva attitude, "Because I'm a prideful bitch, that's why!" Hearing the kid cry for his mother made Debbie groan inwardly. Pulling her outer garments back on, she walked out of the library and hailed a cab.
"Oh God, what would my own mother say right now?"
Looking up at the imposing school in front of her, Debbie questioned her sanity once again. She'd had the taxi driver drop her off at the cheapest eating place in town. For $12, she stuffed herself with eggs, bacon, something called grits, toast, and two glasses of orange juice. While plowing through the plate of food, she had overheard a tall woman with dark hair talking to the waitress behind the counter. "Well, it's not like they have to have experience. We just need someone with a lot of patience to watch over the kids while they are on the playground, you know?"
So Debbie went with impulse, something that has never steered her wrong in the past. She paid her tab and hopped another taxi to the Truelong Community School. Upon entering, she felt the apprehension slide along her skin. A dour-faced woman with horn rimmed glasses looked up from behind a tall counter. "Can I help you, Ma'am?" And just like that, she had a job! Thinking that living in the "real world", as Adam had called it, wasn't as hard as he made it out to be, Debbie sat herself contentedly on the school bench. Minutes later, she was curled up - fast asleep.
Debbie awoke to the sound of a distant ringing of the school bell. Feelings tiff and cold, she sat up and stretched. She smiled as she grabbed the nearest swing and started to push herself. Soon, some Pre-School aged children were running for the playground, making her cringe inside. Rolling her eyes, she pushed herself up and wandered over to where teachers were milling about. "Hi, I'm Debbie, I'm the new hire for playground monitor." She smiled and tossed her hair, waiting for one of the old spinster-looking women to recognize her from her many magazine covers. "That's nice dear, but I am pretty sure you don't start util Wednesday."
Still feeling the embarrassment of being talked down to by an old hag and peeved that no one in this dingy town has even recognized her, Debbie started to walk aimlessly down the cleared sidewalks. "Damn old crap!" Bing, bing! "Work, darn you!" Fwack! Looking up, Debbie saw she was passing what appeared to be a scrap yard. An old man was hammering away at an old broken down lawn mower. She decided to push on past until she saw the sign: $2 per pound of salvaged scrap. Fingering the crumpled bills and change in her pocket, she crossed the street and entered the fence to introduce herself to the old guy.
"It's easy, he says. Take no time at all, he says" Debbie continued mumbling under her breath as she pulled this and that out of the heap of scrap. Pulling out a long pipe, she turned it over in her hand. "How do you tell if it's copper or iron or steel? And why the hell does it matter?" Sighing, she throws it behind her and leans in to pull out more. After two hours, she dusts her hands off and presses a hand to the small of her back. God, I would kill for a deep tissue massage right now!
"That brings you up to ... five pounds, Missy." Debbie's mouth drops open. "Are you frickin' kidding me?! I KNOW that pile is heavier than five pounds. No way did I spend two hours digging all that out for a lousy ten simoleons." She crosses her arms and gives him her best diva look, waiting for him to cave under her tantrum. "You can take it or leave it, Honey. My scale says five pounds, and that's what it is. Now, if you were wanting some real simoleons, old Melvin here likes perty girls. Like at the club, you just shake it nice and..." Slap! "You disgusting old cur!" Debbie snatches the ten simoleons out of his hand and stomps off in search of a second hand store.
"Sorry, but that's the price it's selling for." Debbie is so frustrated, she could cry! "A used sleeping bag is $100?! Can't you please just take the $96 I have and I promise to get you the rest the day after tomorrow. I'm so tired, I just need something to keep me from freezing to death. That's all." Tom, as he introduced himself as, shrugged while the bimbo next to him pretended to ignore Debbie. "Here, let me show you a few things." He came around the counter and led her to some shelves near the back.
"Look, I'm sorry I can't help you out. But I'll tell you what I can do. I usually hold my book club here after the store closes. You can crash on the couch until we are finished with the meeting, which is around nine. OK?" She gave him her best knock-em-dead smile, "Thank you so much. I really appreciate your kindness." Stripping her sweater and jacket off, she laid down on the sofa that was for sale in the front window. It seemed only minutes later when suddenly she is being shaken awake. "It's time to get going, sleepy head." For a moment, she thinks it's Adam shaking her and she smiles softly. Then, realizing she's in a ghastly consignment shop, she wrinkles her nose.
"If you're hungry and you have a few bucks, the Lucky Seven sells some great hot wings for cheap." She grimaces at the thought of eating with pot-bellied sports fanatics and pool hustlers. "Thanks, I'll give them a try." Tom was nice enough to even drop her off. If he hadn't spent the whole time lamenting his impending divorce and how much he wished his wife would reconsider, she might have thought he was hitting on her. Either way, the joint was still open and looked well cared for. "An order of wings, please."
Thirty minutes later, the scattered-brain waitress plops Debbie's cold wings in front of her. "Better hurry up and eat dat, Sugar, we be closing in a few." She leaned down to wipe up the counter where she just made her last drink. "But I ordered these thirty minutes ago! No way can you expect me to just leave.." Suddenly, the lights go out. "We closin', People. Get yo asses out!" Some of the guys in the back start laughing and making cat calls at the waitress. "You too, Sugar." Debbie looks down at her untouched food. "Can I at least get a to-go box or something?" She starts shaking her head. "We don't got fancies like dat 'round here. Now off with yo skinny ass!" Debbie pulls on her jacket once again and stumbles to the door.
I haven't slept for more than a few hours off and on, haven't eaten anything since breakfast at five this morning, I've had a old man insult me, been embarrassed by a school-marm, been given a kindness by a hot man that was short lived, and now I am being kicked out of a bar by a sassy black woman. I want to give up! She pulls out her cell phone and was two seconds from hitting the speed dial for Bee when a familiar voice call out. "Deborah Marie Kliene!" Oh my word, it's Adam!
"So it's true." Adam bursts into laughter. "Oh Deb, I can't believe how incredibly stubborn you are." I feel my face turning red as he quiets down. "Look, we both said some things the other night in anger that we regret. At least, I know I did. Come, on, baby, let's call a truce. Maybe talk some things out, I could explain why.." Debbie's top explodes and all her anger comes pouring out! "Hell no! Don't you come here with your smooth talk and try to coddle me and put me back on that shelf where you think I am only good for looking at."
"Some of what you said was true, I do rely on others to get me through. But that doesn't mean I am useless, Adam! I already have a job which, I might add, I got on my OWN. So don't come here trying to put things back the way they were. If you want me, you need to respect me." She takes a deep breath. She can feel her heart racing, trying to anticipate what is going to come out of his mouth.
"Debbie, I never ... I mean, I have always lo...I can't put my thoughts into words. Baby, I do respect you, I always have. I know first hand the crap you have to deal with on a daily basis. I never meant you should throw it all away. I am a simple man and had hoped you would see the joys of living a simple life. But, your remark shot me and my ...um, plans ...out of the sky. I don't know. Sometimes I think we are worlds apart." She balls her hands into fists as his words cut through her shield. He has always been the only one who could ever hurt her like this. It sort of scares her.
"Look, if you need to do this to prove to me, to yourself, that you can do it, then fine. I won't interfere. But I won't give up on us either. If you are going to eek it out here, well damn it, so will I!" She doesn't know what to say. She can't just take him back and move on! She realizes that she needs to prove something to herself, more than anyone else. I'm so confused! "Well good luck to you, Deb. So ... see you around, I guess." She can only nod and watch as he tucks his hands into his jacket and walks away.
I have no idea what I am doing. Debbie's mind keeps replaying her recent arguments with Adam, reliving moments of them together in the apartment in Bridgeport, looking for clues as to what he is really feeling. Shaking her head, she mumbles to herself, "Need to worry about the immediate right now. I have work tomorrow and no where to lay my head." That's when she notices the igloo exhibit. Smirking, she sneaks over the ropes and crawls inside. It is warm and draft free. "It'll do for the night," she tells herself, then falls right to sleep.