Photo from Zemanta via flickr
He had never owned the things that the other boys had. He didn’t have a watch or gym shoes or even a wallet. When he was in high school he had not seen the need. In fact, he had managed one school year, I think it was his 11 grade, to say only 10 words. No one knew if he had set out to do that but it was the truth.
The back row in every class room suited him just fine. The chair could lean up against the heat register and if he kept his head down, he could even catch a little nap. We defended him against teachers that tried to draw him out by telling the man to leave him alone. He doesn’t like to talk. It is not because your are (fill in the blank)…he just doesn’t talk. All of the teachers were driven to distraction but he didn’t care. He did his work and rode the school bus home.
We all wondered about his house and what they said to each other. I could imagine his mom saying How’d things go today son? Did you get a good grade on that social science test? I just could never imagine him answering. I did know what his voice sounded like and I can vaguely remember his laugh. So imagine my surprise when he called one Saturday afternoon a year after we had graduated from high school to inviting me out for a movie and hamburger at the In-n-out!
I usually took enough money to call home and pay my own way to the movies with a little extra to get a bite to eat. After all, he was just a friend and we might be going to the movie dutch treat. I was sure I had put my wallet in my purse. I am still not totally certain what happened that evening.
He arrived at 5:30 just like we had planned and we decided to walk around the lake before the movie and catch up on old times. He told me about wanting to go to college to become a social worker. His voice was low and mellow like old tobacco. I loved his laugh as he told about rooming with guys that never washed and wouldn’t do dishes. He listened as I rambled on about dorm life and silly pranks. Then it came time for the movies and we decided that we would skip the hamburger and splurge on popcorn and candy. The line was long and as we approached the window I noticed that he didn’t reach for a wallet or even put his hand in his pocket to retrieve his money. I began to feel a little nervous but the conversation flowed easily.
Finally, we were standing at the ticket window looking at the pretty girl selling that evening. She looked expectantly at him and he just smiled and said Hi Mary Jean!. Then they both turned to me. It was then I realized they expected ME to pay. I reached for my purse and the money I knew would be there. When I snapped open the clasp, my wallet was gone.
I received a letter later from a friend telling me that it had taken Edgar six months to muster the courage to ask me out. He had said that it had gone perfectly until he discovers his wallet is missing.
He was not happy and the silence was deafening. He walked me home after I insisted it was not safe for me to walk alone…I never saw him again. I have not figured out if he generally expected the girl to pay…maybe his wallet wasn’t missing…maybe he never own a wallet or a watch in the first place. Or maybe he was…….but I don’t think so.
Written by Etta
Jessie, Someone in class asked me how he participated in PE without gym shoes. Do you remember him playing basketball in his socks. Goodness, I was always sure he was going to kill himself.
for Friday Fiction