Adrienne arrived to the office about 15 minutes late but no one acknowledged her tardiness. “Hmm, again I go unnoticed.” She thought to herself as she sat down to the paperwork that greeted her almost every morning. She turned on her computer and made a gesture to the stack of files that clearly said “forget you!”.
“I guess grace is gone.” Heather joked, as she had been peering over her cubicle during Adrienne’s little display. Heather was the only real friend Adrienne had met in the eighteen months she’d been in Boston. Originally from Omaha, she had come to the city in hopes of becoming a big shot but the world of politically correct didn’t suit her very well. Had it been anyone but Heather, Adrienne likely would have been embarrassed. Instead she simply snapped back at her, “Beat it you snoop, don’t you have work to do?”
“Snoop? Back where I come from, we’re called busy bodies.” Heather explained proudly. They both chuckled and went about their ordinary morning tasks.
When Adrienne left Josh a year and a half ago, she arrived in Boston with the eye of the tiger; ready to start over and not afraid of riding solo. Since her plane touched down however, things hadn’t gone according to plan. She wasn’t happy with her job, airplanes flying overhead shook her old apartment building every 10 minutes, and she hadn’t met a single guy that didn’t leave her skin crawling. Sometimes she’d lie awake at night and wonder if she’d made a mistake, before slowly drifting off to sleep and spending another night alone.
Today, she sat at her desk, filing documents and hoping to avoid another papercut, all the while wondering if this is the best of what’s around. She met up with Heather at lunch and they walked over to Bad Moon Rising, the café on the corner that they frequented whenever they needed to break away from their desks. They took a table on the outside patio and Heather proceeded to jump right in to a conversation.
“I met this old guy at a bar the other night,” she began. “He’s kinda crazy, a whisky drinking madman, but I hear he’s filthy rich. I know, you think I’m a golddigger but…”
Adrienne stopped her in mid sentence. “What would you say if I asked you if you thought I was a loser?
Heather looked confused. “What’s wrong Rapunzel?” She asked. Heather started calling her that shortly after they met because of how long Adrienne’s hair was at the time. “What’s come over you?”
Adrienne looked away. She watched the water flowing down the gutter and into the storm drain like the river of dreams she once had going down in a blaze of glory. She turned back to Heather with a look of helplessness, like Superman weakened by kryptonite, and said, “My life here is coming undone. All I want is to be happy but everything right is wrong again and I suppose it’s just not in the cards for me.”
Heather reached across the table and grabbed her hand. “Don’t stop believing that you’ll get everything you want someday.” She said firmly. “You’re the sweetest girl I know and I’m sure those happy days can’t stay away forever; just hang in there.”
Heather’s kind words, along with the captain and coke she had with her lunch, made Adrienne feel better; or at least good enough to carry out the rest of her day without wanting to jump out of a window. She had made plans to spend an evening with an old friend of hers and her husband who were in from out of town. She desperately wanted to cancel, but seeing as they were only back in town for the day, she didn’t want to be heartless. She had missed seeing them the last time they were around and exchanging “Wish you were here” postcards wasn’t cutting it anymore. She wasn’t going to break another date. She had to duck and run to avoid her boss catching her leaving early but she didn’t care anymore. She was a renegade and not enough money in the world would keep her in that office any longer than she had to.
The last stop before she arrived home was at American Baby, a ritzy newborn clothes store, to pick up something for her friend’s baby boy on the way. She picked out a shirt that said “Heartbreaker” on the front and “I wanna kiss a girl” on the back. The girl at the counter chuckled as she read the shirt while gift wrapping it. “All my friends love this one,” she said to Adrienne. “Good choice.” Adrienne thanked her and ran out the door as she was already low on time.
Arriving home, she nearly busted stuff in her way as she ran to the bedroom to get ready. She neglected little things like her nails and perfume since she was running late. The doorman watched her drive in, drive out, in a span of just 20 minutes. She made it to Dancing Nancies, the restaurant of choice for the evening, just minutes behind schedule. After living in fast forward for the last hour or so, she took a couple of deep breaths before meeting Roxanne and Buddy at the bar. She had always called him Buddy because of his resemblance to Buddy Holly, even though his real name was Steve.
“Look at you!” Adrienne exclaimed as she hugged her friend and touched her pregnant belly. “Feels like tonight could be the night?”
“The exhaustion’s written all over my face, I know.” replied Roxanne. “But no, we still have a couple of weeks to go.”
They embraced again, and then followed the hostess, past the piano man in the corner, to their seats, trying not to collide with each other as they squeezed through the space between tables. They sat down, ordered a few boat drinks (and water for Roxanne), and started talking.
“Give it to me.” Roxanne began. “I need to know what’s going on in your life.”
“Well,” Adrienne fumbled with her words. “I’ve had to learn to live alone again. Sometimes I feel a little over my head, but it’s always been that way so I guess I’m fine, right. Yeah, things are fine.” Roxanne looked at Buddy and then back at Adrienne.
“Before you left for Boston, on the last night we spent together, you had the same tone in your voice as you do right now. Roxanne spoke, concerned for her friend’s well being. “It was like you were pushing me away, and now you’re giving me the run around again. What I want is for you to be honest with me.”
She turned to Buddy again and whispered, “You think you could lose yourself for a few minutes? I think it would help me to be alone with her.”
“You may be right.” He replied and kindly excused himself to the bar.
Adrienne felt her emotions beginning to get the best of her. She took a drink and glanced around the room, trying to buy some time to compose herself. Then she spoke.
“It was only 2 years ago that we took that weekend trip in the summertime to my parents place at the shore,” She began. “but it feels like all these lives ago. We took a walk all along the watchtower in the harbor and I told you about this guy I had met and how we were going to runaway together. Remember that trip?”
Roxanne nodded but didn’t interrupt. She knew Adrienne needed to let go and there would be no letting go if she tried to interject.
“I think that was the last time I was happy.” She continued. “After that I lost it; the happiness I mean, it just went away. And now I see you and Buddy and it’s like ‘Hey jealousy, nice to meet you.’ I don’t know what I’m saying…my heart ain’t a brain and so it doesn’t make much sense sometimes.” She took another drink and then dabbed her eyes with her napkin.
Roxanne got up from her seat and sat next to Adrienne. “Watching you tonight is like watching a stranger,” she began. “Like I haven’t met you yet. That’s not the Adrienne I know. You got it bad, girl.” She signaled to the waitress for another water and then continued her train of thought.
“It’s like you’re in a rain storm,” Roxanne always liked to use metaphors, it was her way of selling the drama. “Who’ll stop the rain? Do you wanna be startin’ something with somebody new? Don’t tell me you do because I know better.” She could have gone on and on but Adrienne stopped her.
“Be wary of a woman who uses metaphors.” She said, trying to lighten the mood. They both laughed and reached for their drinks. “Here’s to you and your baby, and Buddy of course!” They spent the rest of the evening talking about baby showers and baby books like Adrienne’s favorite, Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby. As the night came to a close, the three friends embraced again and said their goodbyes. Roxanne grabbed Adrienne’s arm and said, “You need to find your love, you deserve a love like this too.” Adrienne just smiled back at her. She knew no matter how many words she said, she could never say it right, just how important her friendship was to her. They parted ways and Adrienne headed home.
She opened the door to her apartment to find the danger zone she had left from her earlier rampage. “What a mess.” She said in disgust as she started to clean up. She turned on the radio for a little distraction from her thoughts and the song “Where is the Love?” was playing. She smirked, looked at her face in the mirror and said, “That’s a damn good question.” She quickly changed the station and heard the ominous tones of Thriller. “Just another night in Disturbia I guess.” She said as she continued on with her cleaning.
Her mind began drifting between the conversation with Roxanne and her memories of Josh; there and back again, over and over. “It’s getting late,” she thought. “I’ve got to get some sleep.” Just then, there was a bang at the door.
Who’s at the door? Will this love story have a happy ending? Did Josh fly to Boston or change his mind at the terminal and head to Cancun for Spring Break? Find out in the final installment, here in Part 4.