A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

She Wants to Kill Me – Roady Series Episode 32

How is it that I’m standing around like a teenager while my Mom chats up a storm showing off her cast, telling her story on the courthouse steps? I can tell by her gesturing that she’s saying how much pain she endured.
I’m missing a morning of work; money I sorely need if I’m going to get out of town. I really wish she would cut the dramatics short.
I turn and there’s Anne. She comes right over to me and the next thing I know, she’s in my arms.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers in my ear. Her arms are so tight around me like I’m a life preserver and she’ll drown without me. I hold her as she softly cries into my shoulder.
“It’s just Bobby’s mom, she’s not doing so well,” Anne tells me. “She submerges me in her grief and everything feels wrong like I did something to hurt her then I’m short with you.”
I take her face in my hands. “It’s okay Anne. You’re allowed to grieve. He was your first love. You don’t owe me anything.”
She smiles through her tears. “Tyler?”
“You really don’t get it do you?”
“I do and it’s okay.”
“No,” she says. “You left. I gave up.” Her face is twisted in pain. “I would have married Bobby. It would have been a lie and now he’s gone.”
Our eyes lock. I absorb all she’s said and feel deep inside me an empty place filling, pieces fitting together.
“I left,” I say. “Because there was no other way to escape Linda. Ever since that Fourth of July, you messed with my head and nothing between Linda and I was the same.”
Anne laughs, a sad laugh but then I add my laugh, only for me it starts to be truly funny. Then we are both laughing. Finally I pull her close again and we kiss.
In my peripheral vision, I see Mom giving me a little wave and right behind her, Linda with a look to kill.

A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

Pizza Party? Roady Series Episode 17

We’re not doing anything wrong. We were going to grab a pizza at Luigi’s but when we walked into the place, a whole cheerleading squad had three tables full of high schoolers. I saw someone point at Anne and then two others turned around.
“You know them?”
She nodded. “Bobbie’s cousin and friends. Let’s go.”
We turned around and walked out. Anne said she had a Mac and cheese at home that she could reheat. No way was I going to suggest take-out from Chili’s if homemade Mac and cheese was on the menu.
That’s how I ended up at her apartment, but we’re not alone. Her roommate Danielle sits on the couch talking on her phone. I’m torn. Part of me wants to say something to Danielle when Anne disappears in her room to get an old yearbook. I want to hint that maybe she could go to her room and let Anne and I sit on the couch together instead of at the kitchen table. But then, I think maybe I should go to the kitchen sink and splash some cold water on my face. What am I thinking? We’re just talking. We’re just friends. She’s in mourning. Don’t mess it up Tyler. She’s like the only person I’ve talked to in a while that makes me feel like a real person, not a stranger. We’ve got history, good history and I welcome it after years of shallow, meaningless half friends.
She comes back and we sit side by side as she points out pictures of me which to my surprise are sprinkled throughout. I never got the yearbook. Linda did, but she was only concerned about filling it with signatures. A month after graduation it was off radar and I never even saw more than my picture which I wrote some corny poem on. Anne turns a page fast but I put my hand on it.
“Wait. Is that you?”
She’s sitting at a desk in a classic Anne posture with her hands folded and there’s my minimalist “TR” , right at the top of her hands. But what makes me stare is that the letters are enclosed in a pencil drawn heart.
“I never…” my words trail off.
“It was a long time ago. I was a teenager.” She laughs nervously then turns the page. It’s a collage of photos of the marching band. There’s Bobbie in uniform with his trombone at his side like the rifle of a soldier. Anne stares at it a moment then closed the book with a snap. “This was a bad idea, I’m sorry.”
Whatever we intended for the evening, fails. It’s like we walk this tight rope over a pool of snapping alligators. There’s no forgetting the danger just inches away.
“Thanks for dinner,” I tell her just outside her door. It’s a small landing at the top of stairs, dimly lit.
“It was one of Bobbie’s favorites.” She looks up at me and tears are forming. I pull her into a hug without thinking but she doesn’t resist. It feels good to hold her as she cries softly. “I’m sorry,” I say.
She lifts her head. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be so depressing.”
“No, you’re fine.” I tell her. I take her face in my hands and wipe the tears from under eyes. “I’m here for you.”
She studies me for a moment. “Answer me a question.”
My heart leaps in my throat. Is there anything scarier than those words from a woman? “Yes.”
“Why are you here?”
I take in a deep breath.“Does there have to be a why?”
She squints her eyes. “Yes.”
I feel the alligators nipping at my feet and choose my words carefully but before I can open my mouth, the door cracks open and Danielle’s face appears in the stream of light from the apartment.
“Sorry to bother,” she says. She looks at Anne. “Pastor Jim called twice. He texted me and said if I knew where you were. He was expecting a call from you.”
Anne puts her hand over her mouth. “Oh my gosh! I forgot!” She turns back to me and then as though we were never on the brink of the danger zone she says, “So sorry Tyler. I’ve got to go. Talk to you later? Tomorrow?” I hear the the indefinite, ‘nice knowing you’, ‘I’ve got a life without you’ in her words.
“Sure, I’m gone.” I start walking down the stairs.
She gives me a little wave, like that makes a difference. I get it. As I go down the steps, I can’t help but feel like I’m going down into the depths of everything going wrong.
She asked me why I was here because she never really invited me. I’m not filling a gap in her life. I pulled her into the gap in my life. Well, no more. Our break time chats are over and clearly meeting on a more personal basis is not going to work. It was a flash in the pan and now it’s over.

BINGE read Episodes 1- 16 by choosing the category- “Roady Series” – Find it in the drop down “menu” at the header of this blog.

This post is fiction based on the back story of a supporting character in a novel in process by Clare Graith. See for more info about the author.