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9. Uncertain Habitat

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The day after Angyl’s visit, I took a walk to town. I was in a more suburban development. It suited me better, but I found myself taken aback by the lack of noise. The overwhelming silence disturbed me. The lack of police officers and running strangers and black clad teenagers got on my nerves. But here I was. And here I would stay until I was satisfied. Until I had proven to myself what I had set out to prove.

That I could hack it alone.

I went to town in search of a job. I went place to place, applying for anything anywhere. Nobody would snap me up right away, but they promised a lot of phone calls. Maybe it’s the massive amounts of black clothing I wear, the tattoos and piercings…but I kind of knew that this wouldn’t be easy.

I was walking out of the seventh rejection that day when I felt a pair of eyes follow me out of the place. I kept walking, trying to shake my mind from it, but I could feel those eyes burning into my back for every step I took. I wheeled around when I just couldn’t take it anymore, finding a guy leaning against the building I’d just stormed out of. He was older than me, it was obvious in his appearance. He leaned casually against the building, watching people pass by. He didn’t seem bored or fascinated, he simply was. He was just there. There was nothing more to be said about the situation. He hadn’t moved. He never left that place. The only thing that shifted about him were his eyes. I shook off the misplaced agitation and went back to my sulking, trying another few places before giving up. I went back to where I was staying.

The lack of progress did get me down, but I wasn’t done yet. I had enough to hold me over for a while without work. But I was kind of concerned. This was a small town, the truth was unavoidable – if there was no work there was just no work. That would mean I’d have to go home, prove to Angyl that I couldn’t hack it. No. I’d try until there was nothing left in me. I’d make ends meet or die trying. I kept at it for days.

And I seemed to pass that guy everywhere I went.

After about a week without a word, I began to lose hope. At that point, I just walked around town to have something to do. There was nothing else except that and writing to keep me going. And I had to keep going. I didn’t have much else to do. This was my choice. My voluntary action. And I would deal with it. I would handle it or die trying. I wouldn’t go home. I’d suffer my stupidity.

I was walking around town again, daydreaming, when I walked right into someone. It was the same guy that I’d been seeing around. I felt silly, walking into him blind, not paying attention. I started to stammer apologies like a fiend. He was holding me by my arms, straightening me out, holding me away from him. I was still rambling. He shook his head a few times and smiled.

“My name is Lost.”

It wasn’t really. But that’s what I heard. His name could have been any number of things. But that’s what I heard, and that’s all that mattered. I told him that I was Fallen. He smiled and let go.

“Walking blind?”

I nodded, realizing we weren’t really talking about the accident anymore. We’d moved straight from the physical to the metaphorical. With some people, if you don’t keep up, you’ll drown before you ever realize you were in the water at all.

“Find a job yet?”

I shook my head, stepping back a bit. He was a little taller than I was, definitely older. I wouldn’t put him over 20 though. He had this confidence to him – I couldn’t explain it. It wasn’t like the typical male cockiness. It was something else. I turned to walk away.

“Hey, not so fast.” He reached out and grabbed my shoulder. I wheeled around, throwing him off of me. He pulled his hand back fast as his face shifted a tad. He looked ironically afraid, scared that I might bite him.

“Sorry…I’m bad with contact.”

He nodded. “I could get you work.”

I narrowed my eyes at him, thinking him false, up to no good. “What kind of work?”

And he glared back at me, matching my expression in every detail. “What kind do you think? I know all kinds of people.”

I glared at him until he laughed. I was even more offended by this and began to walk away again. Again he called out to me, but this time I just kept walking. I wouldn’t be his ongoing practical joke. He called after me.

“Go to Hell!” I screamed back at him.

“Babe, I’m the Prince.” I looked back and he made a ceremonial bow of sorts, making his way back over to me. I stopped walking, waiting. I don’t know why I waited. But I did.

“What kind of work?” I repeated when he was close enough. He just smiled.

“My kind,” he replied with a shrug, draping an arm around me. “Stick with me kid, and you’ll go far,” he continued, in an almost sarcastically simple tone. I didn’t have much choice. I needed a job. And it wouldn’t hurt to find out exactly what he had in mind. I was a big girl. I could take care of myself. And I would.

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