Sometimes the kindness of strangers can kill intentions faster than curiousity.
May 25, 2006
Her calloused fingers made it more difficult for Lindsey to enjoy the feeling of the strings beneath her carefully place hands. She played a song that helped her lonely heart feel less empty. She had played it a million times before. Her voice drifted away on the breeze. The same voice had drifted away on breezes all across the states. She couldn't ever stay put for very long, but that was how it was supposed to be. Little did she know, that was all about to change.
Louder than anything Lindsey could ever play, rustling branches broke her concentration. At least, that's what she convinced herself when steps echoed on the concrete beside her. She focused even more intently on the way her fingers moved even though the song flowed from every part of her. It came as naturally as breathing, even when she knew without looking that Andy was watching her.
He stayed for three songs without even a murmur. Letting her voice fill the usually quiet streets of the neighborhood, Andy tapped his foot as slowly and gently as the plea she was singing. A businessman hurrying past obviously on his way to work tossed a dollar bill and an assortment of coins into her guitar case.
Looking up for the first time, Lindsey mumbled a "Thank You" to the man who had initially paid for her next meal. Andy contemplated whether or not he could consider the slight twinge of her lips a smile. Still, he was unsure what made this girl so captivating.
His debate was interrupted as she began another song. More haunting than all the others, this song beckoned the dark clouds that rolled over Chicago's morning sky as if to match her tone. As the last chord faded into nothing the nervousness building in Lindsey's stomach churned for approval. Her head screamed at her to get away as quickly as she could; something about Andy's gaze frightened her.
The desolate sound of his hands clapping over the howling wind sent shivers down her spine. She hastily shoved the money from her guitar case into her pocket and closed her guitar inside.
"You voice might just haunt me for the rest of my life," Andy spoke words that felt like a foreign language leaving his lips. His mind told him he the way he was smiling softly at her was communicating flirtation, but Andy hadn't been one for flirting recently (at least not since the last girl left him brokenhearted and alone). Hoping to reestablish a strictly platonic nature he added the rough, "You really have some talent there."
The mumble Lindsey replied with hardly sounded like any language he knew and she was hurrying across the street screaming obstinacies at the tow truck hovering around her ugly gray car sooner than he could say another word. She had been too tangled in the strings of her guitar to notice he had chugged to a stop besides her car. Now, that it was already being hoisted up by chains, it seemed almost to late to resolve the situation.
"What are you doing with my car!" Lindsey censored herself once she was in direct conversation with man driving the tow truck, "That's my car!"
"Sorry Miss!" He mumbled, "But this is a NO PARKING ZONE."
"You don't understand," She pleaded sending a burning gaze to the NO PARKING sign that she was absolutely sure had not been there when she parked, "I need my car! You can't just take it from me!"
"I'm sorry," he replied completing the job he was sent to do. Lindsey grabbed the garbage bag full of all of her belongings and let out a frustrated scream as she heaved the bag onto the curb, next to her guitar case just before the car was dragged away.
"Um, excuse me," Andy approached her uneasily, but only because his feet were ordering him to. His steps were still making that unnatural sound that had convinced him that this morning would break more then just his routine, but he still didn't see that change in this rough around the edges type of girl. Feeling the only option was to speak without thinking, he interrupted Lindsey's grumbling. "I couldn't help but notice that...well...would you like a ride home?"
Scowling at him only briefly before slinging the garbage bag over her shoulder Lindsey insisted, "I'm fine walking." Andy sighed. This girl shot him down at every opportunity she had yet he couldn't help but be drawn to her. Begging himself for an explanation, he concluded it was only because she was probably the only person he had ever met that seemed to be more complicated then Peter Wentz. And at that moment, that was the only explanation he needed. That and the fact that there was just something about her eyes that conveyed that she needed more help then she'd ever admit to. That was a feeling he could relate to. He had been hiding the truth from his friends for months. He'd never feel right knowing he just left her there. He understood too well the feeling of abandonment. (That last girl, he had loved her you know).
Taking quick steps down the sidewalk away from Andy, a man who had now tried three times now to get past her rough exterior, Lindsey realized a garbage bag full of clothes and a battered guitar case only looked tacky when you have no trunk to hide them in. It really only began to bother her once she could feel Andy's eyes on her back and the first few heavy rain drops on her skin.
"Really, let me give you a ride home or uh where ever it is that you are going." Andy called to her.
Lindsey has made it her life mission to avoid human connections at all cost. Her experience has proved people are nothing but a completely evil and heartless race. And she includes herself as part of that conclusion. She was just as heartless as the rest, or at least, she pretended to be. She knew the ones who hurt you the worst are the ones you trust. They lie, they leave, they break pieces of you that you never realized existed. This man, Andy, his shy smile, long copper hair, and wire-framed glasses couldn't hide that if she let him, he would surely do the same. She vowed not to trust him, but that would not be the first vow she had ever broken.
"I told you I'm fine." She called back without even turning to face him. A rumble of thunder and a flash of lightning cause he to jump. She paused for a second to contemplate how to effectively ditch him when the downpour started. Andy jogged up beside her and picked up the guitar case she had set down.
Instinct told Lindsey to run away. Instinct always told Lindsey to run away. But fate is instincts worst enemy. And the rain was drowning that morning in fate.
"Come on now," He encouraged with the warmest smile a storm would allow, "You're going to get wet."
"Why are you so insistent on getting in my way!" She snapped. Using the best intimidation tactics she had learned from overzealous foster parents.
Andy shrugged, "You looked like you could use a friend."
Tears welled up in her eyes; so much for being invisible; so much for running away.
"I'm Andy," He told her, "My car's this way...uh?"
She sighed accepting his offer by following him in the direction he was heading. "Lindsey."
Andy nodded trying not to stare as he observed her. He walked slowly to match her steps. He could already tell that she was not the kind of girl that could be left behind. She was not the kind of girl that could be let out of sight. She cleared her throat sharply causing him to turn away quickly. He squinted past the rain to make out that shape of his car that was parked only a few feet ahead. The metal of his keys slipped between his fingers as he prepared to unlock the doors. He blamed it on the heavy sheets of rain that crashed down on them, not the nervousness he felt.
"Where to Lindsey?" Andy asked lifting her guitar case into the trunk.
She threw the bag she carried in beside it, "As far away from my past as I can get." She told him with a laugh. It was the easiest answer she could come up with. It was the easiest answer she could allow herself to believe. Lindsey had become a liar long before she had ever learned to survive. Deceit was always a nice friend to fall back on.
"I think I know the place." He replied from the other side of the car. She relaxed into the seat as he turned up the heater. Sure it was May in Chicago, but that didn't mean a thing. Just the previous week had felt more like an abnormally warm winter than mid-spring. Lindsey enjoyed the warm bursts of air on her face. Her car's heater had stopped working somewhere on a gravel road between Cincinnati and Detroit. That was over four months ago.