Friday, November 19, 2010

219. Chance Encounter With Regrets

Today started out rainy and gloomy, so I decided to take Short to the library to pick out some new books. We found a great spot right in front and parked the car. As I was wrestling with the Spiderman umbrella and helping Short put his yellow raincoat hood up, someone called out to me.

“MOV!” said someone-who-knew-my-name, “MOV! It’s me! How’ve you been!” It was more a statement than a question.

Of course I recognized the voice. Oh, God, do I have to talk to him right now? What’s he doing at the library?

“Gosh, it’s been, like, forever,” he winked. “Hi Short! You are almost as big as Tall, huh, buddy?”

“What do you want?” I cut him off, impatient. “I really don’t have any time for you right now.”

“Sure you do,” he said, falling in line with our steps toward the library entrance. “While Short looks at books, you and I can have a little ‘chat’.”

What choice did I have? The library is a public place. We all walked in, with Short insisting on pressing the automatic door-opener.

“Who is that, Mommy?” Short looked up at me, his little face expectant.

“It’s my old friend, Regrets,” I replied with a weariness in my tone.

Short made himself at home in the children’s section of the library and Regrets motioned for me to join him near the window.

“What do you want? I thought we were through,” I whispered, my voice full of venom.  

“You know what I want to talk about: why you never return my phone calls or emails……..” he shook his head, disappointed. “We used to hang out together! What’s going on? Why do you avoid me?”

“Newsflash, Regrets: no one wants you around. You make people feel bad.”

Feel bad? Are you kidding? I’ve always been there for you, through thick and thin. When you dropped out of Architecture school, who offered you a shoulder to cry on—that’s right, me, Regrets. When you decided to move to Spain for a year but then came back after only a month, who was there to pick up the pieces? Regrets! Big time! Any job you ever applied for but didn’t get because of something stupid thing you said in the interview—who did you call to rehash and dissect the entire interview for hours upon hours? Me! Regrets! I listened patiently, I stood by you like a true friend. Now you’re telling me that I make you feel bad?”

“Yes, Regrets, that is exactly what I’m saying. It’s time for you to leave,” I insisted, my voice sounding shrill.

“Excuse me, Miss? Is there a problem? Is this gentleman bothering you?” said my-new-best-friend, the librarian.

“Yes, as a matter of fact, do you think you could call security and….” I began.

“No, everything is fine,” Regrets interrupted. He caught her eye.

“Oh, it’s you! Regrets!” she swooned. “How are you? You look fantastic! Have you lost weight?”

Regrets stood up and gave the librarian a hug.

“Regrets, I really need to talk to you,” she pulled at his sleeve urgently, “I was offered a job up in Boston near my family, but I turned it down. Now I realize I made the wrong decision.” She started to tear up.

Regrets turned to face me. “MOV, I have a real friend who obviously needs me. Good day.” And with that, he took the librarian’s hand and the two of them walked towards the History section, talking like old pals.

("My Only Vendetta")

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