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Some Pancakes and a Lot of Conversation
She was angry today, I could feel it. When she was angry she would pinch the palms of her hand. She almost broke skin today. I wanted to go to the other side of this bus and let her cry on me, let her hit me, let her pinch my palms, let her do whatever she needed to do. Too bad I didn’t even know her, not even her name. For a year and a half, I had taken the same bus, at the same bus stop, with the same bus driver. For a year and a half she had taken the bus every Monday, Thursday and Friday. And for a year, I had been in love with her. She was a pure and natural beauty, she didn’t need anything more. I saw something new in her every time I laid my eyes on her. From her perfectly round sky blue eyes, to her irresistible red lips. She was the kind of girl that only wore pastels and always had her nails painted a bright, happy pink. The way she wore yellow drove me nuts. She read nothing but Shakespeare, smiling as she read to herself. I had never heard her laugh, but I knew it would be intoxicating. For a year and a half, in my eyes, she was the only girl out there. I called her Amy.
I was hungry and needed some Twinkies and Mountain Dew; Lulu worked the night shift at the 7-11. I went in, got my stuff, and went to the cash register. She wore leather pants, black high heels, and an assortment of rings decorated her hands. Her charcoal eyes said nothing; her messy hair told me she couldn’t care less. She nonchalantly stood behind the counter. A full ashtray next to her and the bottle of Tequila in her hand reminded me that I never want to work the night shift at a 7-11. She rang up the Twinkies; took a swig of the bottle. Rang up the Mountain Dew; blew a puff of smoke into the air.
“4.50” Swig. Blow.
“You wanna donate some money?” She said sucking all those addictive chemicals into her body. “It’s for kids in Africa.
I handed her a ten. She then chuckled.
“What?” I picked up my bag.
“Nothing.” She drank.
“You chuckled, that’s caused by something amusing, what’s funny about me donating money?” I had spent a total of three minutes with her and I was getting annoyed.
“Fifteen people have walked in tonight, and after doing some research, 1 out of those 15 people will donate money for kids in Africa. That’s you.”
“Well sorry for wanting to help the world.” Now I was fully annoyed.
“Do you smoke?” She asked.
“It’s bad for you.” I responded.
“Do you drink?” She took a drink of Tequila. I shook my head.
“Have you ever done drugs?” She leaned over the counter, exposing a hint of her red lacy bra.
“I never gave into peer pressure.” Was she a doctor?
“Neither did I. Did you ever steal any money from your parents?” She put out her cigarette butt, took a fresh pack from the counter and lit another one.
“No.” This little survey was aggravating.
“Do you ever lie?” She was now an inch away from my face.
“There was never any need to, and when did we start playing 20 questions?” I was almost yelling.
“Are you aware that you are the ultimate human being?” She widened her eyes in disbelief, like she was standing in front of the Messiah.
“What do you mean by that?” She was either drunk, high or both.
“It’s rude to answer a question with a question. But to answer your question, from what I’ve heard, you don’t do anything wrong, you’re a good, wholesome person. Do you know how rare that is to find? You’re one of the last hopes this world has of surviving. Well, maybe not surviving but you get what I’m saying.”
After this I simply left, didn’t say a thing; just turned and left.
“Au revoir,” she said as the door closed behind me.
There was no doubt in my mind that she was one of the most gorgeous people I’d seen in a 7-11. There was also no doubt in my mind that she was one of the most obnoxious, rude, and overall terrible people that I have ever crossed paths with. I hoped to never see her again. I walked angrily out of the 7-11 waiting anxiously for tomorrow, it was Thursday and I would see her.
Seeing the bus come to a stop, I toyed with the thought of talking to Amy for the first time. I had dreamt of her hearing her voice and what our first conversation would entail. I stepped foot on the bus and immediately wished it would crash and leave no survivors. Lulu and Amy were sitting side by side. I sat down. Lulu smiled and said exactly the words I did not want to hear,
“Hey, I know you.”
I smiled politely and waved. She got up and sat next to me. This was the beginning of the end.
The next day, they were both there again. It couldn’t have been karma, I had done nothing wrong. With them sitting next to each other, I was forced to compare. Amy was reading As You Like It, for the third time this year. Lulu was tapping her many rings against a pole, her legs taking up two seats. Amy was wearing my favorite yellow cardigan, on top of a long gray dress, beautifully twirling her hair. Lulu was wearing a black leather jacket with a zipper running down the side, a pink sparkly dress, something straight out of an 80’s prom, and a mess of silver chains around her neck. As much as I despised Lulu, I waited for her to look up, see me, and make her way next to me. She did just that. Most of me hoped Amy would see and finally take notice of my existence, but I knew that was far from happening. The rest of me tried to enjoy Lulu’s exasperating company.
“Let’s get off together at the next stop.” She was spontaneous.
“Can’t I have places to be”
“Like what? Some argyle sweater party?”
“This was a gift from my grandmother.”
“I never said it wasn’t,” she was rude. “Now come on, wherever it is you have to be, it can wait.”
I wanted to go, but could I handle a whole afternoon with Lulu? She was the kind of person that was better I small doses.
“What’s the next stop?” I decided to risk it.
She smiled an incandescent smile.
“The best pancakes in the city.”
“It’s 2 in the afternoon.” Pancakes were my favorite food.
“It says pancake time on my watch.” The bus stopped, Amy doesn’t even look up.
I have lived in this town for most of my life, but never had I seen or heard of this part of town. To my left, a cleaners, inside and irritable old man stood ironing someone else’s dress casual khaki pants. To my right, a tattoo parlor, unusually bright pink and through the window, an angry teenage blatantly stared at me. Lulu would know this neighborhood. We walked a few blocks and awkwardly talked about past pets. She seemed nervous. I think it was me; I was making her nervous. Whoa. We finally arrived; it was a cobalt blue building with no name. She would eat here.
“I’ve never gone out to lunch with a male friend before. Assuming that we’re friends.” She shyly looked up. I didn’t expect this side of her to exist.
“I’ve never gone out with a female at all. And yes, we’re friends.”
We were there for two hours eating the best pancakes in the city. After much deep conversation, she placed her black coffee on the sea foam green table.
“You know what my problem is? I trust too much.” She started lighting a cigarette. “I mean, here I am sitting with you, eating pancakes, showing you every single skeleton in my closet and I just met you two days ago.”
“You said it yourself, I’m a good person. Good people can be trusted.” I liked her.
“What if I killed my evil twin sister and needed help hiding the body? Could I trust you?” I could not get over her charming smile.
“Well, of course. If she was evil, then she deserved it.” She laughed. I’d only made a few people laugh in my lifetime, but after hearing her, I never wanted to make anyone else laugh but Lulu. Around her, I didn’t feel like the awkward, argyle-sweater wearing, stammering idiot I was around everyone else. In her presence, I felt powerful, confident, smooth, charming, and whatever other synonym exists. Something about her changed me completely.