21. The Lady Protests

 

I came to this morning with a surprise waiting for me. The blinking light of communication on my phone intermittently filled the dark room with bursts of soft light. Initially it had annoyed me, until I saw it was a text from Myra. She had attempted to contact me in the early morning hours to ask if I wanted to hang out. That shot of adrenaline provided my bearings instantly. Anxiety soon followed. I couldn’t find a bottle fast enough. Then I was over the moon. Well, even more so than usual.

I had hoped, but did not expect this to happen. Unsure of when to contact her, or how long to wait, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to run into her at least once more. But there it was, all spelled out. I respond to the affirmative. Myra-cing heart pounds with excitement. I would reread the one text she sent a dozen times before accepting my first delivery.

First thing I did on my travels was pick up another pint. And now I’m on my second, or is it third? I can’t remember. There’s too much going on. Today I’ve been drinking gin. I like gin, but it’s not inconspicuous. Gin has quite the strong odor. People know when you’re drinking gin. Hell, they know if you drank gin yesterday. Gin is also very dry. The more gin you drink, the thirstier gin makes you.

A young lady sits in front of me on the bus. I can see her phone. It appears she is sexting someone. But with all emojis. I can’t exactly follow the whole story. There are lots of random animals, produce, and a myriad of the standard yellow facial expressions. I briefly consider sending Myra a few, before realizing that is a terrible idea. And that realization increases my anxiety exponentially. I empty the current bottle. Then plan for the next. This draws the attention from the young lady. I don’t avert my gaze. She finally does, putting her phone away in a dubious, but unnecessary embarrassment.

Myra asked to meet me at a bar that’s somewhat near Central. The time hasn’t been determined. Around what most consider the dinner hour is most likely. We’re both out making deliveries of course. With the way I’m going, lunchtime would be ideal. I’ve never been able to pace myself. But that should be apparent by now.

I spend some time wondering why so close to Central? An assumed convenience for us both? Hopefully it’s not because she just wants to talk shop. No way I’ve made it into the friend zone already. I’m interested in a great deal more than that. Leading me to question if I’ve made that obvious enough to Myra. Probably should take it a step further tonight on our first date. Once I’m sure it is a date. No, it’s a date. Treat it as a date.

I almost fell getting off the bus. The inverting opening doors tried to trip me. Maybe I stumbled and kicked them. No one can say for sure. I continue on up the block to make the delivery. In asking for the slip to be signed, I stuttered out slurred words. After several failed attempts to correct it they were able to piece together my request. Coupled with recent anxieties, I had no choice but to laugh. A necessary release at a somewhat inopportune moment. Man, you never saw such accusatory stares. I nearly flip them off, barely knowing better as I exited.

I make it back out to the street, deciding that I’ll accept one more delivery before meeting Myra. However, it’s not quite optimum, takes me in the wrong direction. I summon a taxi on my phone. A mini van. My favorite. You don’t even have to open the doors anymore. Sometimes I forget and try anyway. Only to get reprimanded by the driver with an “I got it! I got it!”. I get in and a young guy is busy on the phone. Points to his Bluetooth. Only smiles and waves. Fine by me. He complains into the headset about “idiot passengers”, occasionally turning around to say “not you Sir”. I can only laugh, taking another slug of gin. Myra-venous appetite for liquor remains.

Soon we’re sitting in unexplained, heavy traffic. When we finally make it up to the next stoplight, the intersection is completely invaded by protesters. The result of a recent election. It’s an inconvenience for me, but I don’t disagree with what they’re protesting. Which makes it tough to get pissed. The gin seems to even it all out.

I disembark the minivan, forgetting again about the doors. “I got it, I got it! What the hell?!” Then a text message arrives from Central warning of possible delays due to these very protests. Way too late as usual. I push through the crowd to the subway. It’s no use. Still I persist. Finally I get there, and then another text.

 Where are you? Myra texts.

 On the train. Almost on my way. I respond, knowing I’m continuing away from Central. Have you heard about these protests?

 Yes of course. You shouldn’t bother, I can’t stay around here much longer. My heart sinks. I want to call her, to explain. Probably couldn’t accomplish that without slurring. Myra-tio of alcohol to blood is out of balance. I turn back from the turnstiles. Deciding there’s one pint of gin left in this day.

After the train station liquor store, I push back through the crowd. It’s not the way I have to go. The extra human contact helps my newly acquired aggression. Sure, I probably drank too much. I was nervous.

 So sorry it didn’t work out. Can I see you soon? I text Myra.

 That’s not your fault, and we’ve all got to stand together and fight these bastards! #fightthepower Her fiery spirit is of some consolation to me. We can try to get together again soon. Tonight I join the fray. You should too.

Suddenly, I just want to get home. Right after making this last delivery, I manage to catch the endangered yellow taxi. The ride is prompt. I stumble into my humble building. The sun isn’t down. But thinking it soon will be validates my need to pass out. My-raised expectations for this evening falling well short.

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