Nothing makes sense
Saturday was a hectic day at work, and it didn't help that the boss was extra difficult and extra smelly. I hustled from the time I arrived to the time I left, with him dropping by at least every half hour to remind me to fill the bins, to keep the area clean, and to be extra careful not to make any voids while I was ringing up sales. At one point, I was ready to tell him that if he wanted to work in the Wine Shop that badly, I'd give him a smock, but with my luck, he'd have done so, and I'd have been stuck with him full time.
By quitting time, I was feeling ragged, I was in a lousy mood, and really wanted to do nothing but go home, take a shower and take it easy all night. That feeling passed when I came down the last escalator and saw Rosalie waiting for me. Her face brightened the minute she saw me coming, and the little wave she did energized me. She was dressed almost as she was when I saw her the previous Sunday, this time in an off-white crew neck sweater and brown plaid slacks. A single strand of pearls surrounded her graceful neck, and she had put on just enough makeup to enhance her beautiful brown eyes and to frame her gorgeous smile. I waved back and made my way down the escalator and into her waiting arms. She held me close and kissed me on the cheek. She smelled as good as she looked.
"I didn't realize it until now, but I've really missed you a lot. You have a way of getting under a girl's skin," she said.
"Yeah, I know how you feel," I said. Seeing her made me feel better about everything. There were a lot of things that I didn't know about her, but being with her reassured me.
She straightened my tie and fixed my collar, then leaned back to admire her work. "You look wonderful. I'd never know you'd been slaving away all day. A job like that would just about kill me."
"Oh, well, there are days when that's just how it feels. I haven't thought of anything to do tonight. I suppose we could have something to eat, then go to a movie or something. I don't have a lot of practice at this."
"You're kidding! Handsome guy like you, with no experience at dating?" She did her best to sound incredulous.
"Hard to believe, isn't it? Uh...are you hungry?"
"Well, yes, it is dinnertime. Where shall we go?"
"I don't know. What's good around here?"
"I picked the last time, Tony dear. It's your turn. I like Italian, and Gino's East is right down the street..."
"How about we go to Gino's East?" I interjected, trying to make it sound as though it had been my idea.
"Sounds like a wonderful idea," she said.
"Then, maybe we could see a movie?"
She made a face. "I'm not a big movie person, actually."
"Yeah, neither am I. Uh, you like blues? Because, James Cotton's at the Wise Fool's."
"Hm!" She sounded mildly interested. "That could work. Let's eat first."
I offered my arm, and together we walked down Michigan Avenue.
We spent dinner talking mostly about me: my plans for the future, my ideas for what I wanted to do with my life, why I had chosen the major that I was in. It made me realize that I hadn't given much thought at all to what I was doing, nor to what I planned to do when I got out of school. In fact, by the end of dinner, I felt embarrassed being there with Rosalie. She seemed so confident, so bold, so sure of herself, that it frightened me. Suddenly, I didn't want to ask her any questions about herself. It wasn't that I didn't want to know, I was just afraid that she'd confirm for me what I was already beginning to think, that I was a pathetic plaything to her. And yet, I sat and took it from her, because she was so magnificent, and she was my date, and she looked so beautiful, and when she reached across the table and took my hand in hers, I felt safe. I knew that she was just showing her concern for me and her interest in me.
She tipped her head to one side and smiled sadly, and the tone in her voice softened. "You know, sweetheart, I don't think I want to go anyplace else tonight, because I don't want to share you with anyone," she said. For the first time since seeing her earlier that evening, I felt that there was a reason that we were sitting here in the candlelight, in a quiet booth in an otherwise noisy restaurant. She wanted to be with me. There was something--I didn't know what--that I had that she wanted. I wasn't sure what it was, but I wanted to find out. I caught our server's eye and asked for the check.
Outside the restaurant, she put her arms around me and we kissed for a long time. She took my arm and leaned heavily against me as we walked toward her apartment.
At the corner of Chicago and Michigan, we waited for the light to change, then stepped out into the street. Just then, a dark sedan with its lights out ran through the intersection, its tires squealing. "Tony!" she shouted, and tossed me down on the pavement. I banged my head and saw stars for a moment, then looked around for her. It took a minute, but finally I saw her, standing over me, a pistol in her hand pointed in the direction of the sedan, which had by now sped away.
"Rosalie?" I asked, confused.
"Tony! Are you OK?" she asked, kneeling down beside me.
"I..." The look on my face probably said it all to her. What was she doing with a gun? What had she just done?
"We need to talk, honey," she said.
"I'll say," I agreed.
As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated.