The girl across the street

(from Suburban Misfits)


Tiger Stevens nudges me in the ribs when he finds out I just moved into the rooming house across the street from our favorite bar.

Guys I drink with always talk about the girl that lives in the three-storied Victorian house across the street.

Now Iím living there.

I never get it, always confused by the nod and wink as if I am supposed to know something I donít know.

I guess Iím a bit of a snob.

I drink with the boys I attended high school with but always assume I wonít end up like them.

Sure I load trucks like they do as some Fairfield warehouse, yet I secretly scribble masterpieces into notebooks after house with the assumption I might some day get discovered.

Sure, the girl, I met my first day in the rooming house is intrigued by the notebooks and asks me to read some of the contents to her each time we meet inside the house.

I never do.

I keep thinking Iím not ready.

I tell her maybe next time, and really hope I am ready next time.

Tiger hoots more when I tell him about Sue and asks me if I get too much leaving so close to her.

He looks confused and frustrated when I tell him I donít know what heís talking about.

Then, he pats my shoulder sadly and says I donít know what Iím missing.

When I see Sue I tell her about Tiger and she looks concerned, asking me if I believe anything Tiger tells me about her.

She looks so hurt I think something must be wrong.

Her look gets worse when I read a little about what Iíve written Ė especially those parts Iíve written about her, about sunshine and smile, and the other silly things I think about during the day when Iíve loading and unloading trucks.

Tiger tells me Iím missing a golden opportunity with Sue, and that I should try to get some before the rest of the boys in the neighborhood wear her out and leave nothing for me to get.

When I tell Sue this she looks so sad she makes me want to dry.

Iím sorry I said anything to her.

I assure her I could care less about what Tiger says and I only repeat because I think she should know.

She thanks me.

The next day she is gone.

Tiger tells me I ought to watch my step and not drink at the bar any more since some of the boys want to beat me up for screwing up their good thing.

I just keep thinking of how much I miss Sue and wonder where she went and whatís she doing, and if she has anyone to read to her.

But I know better now.

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