Good things hardly last forever.
Have Less To Depend On
June 4, 2006
A few nights passed and each new day followed. Every night started on the couch but morning found Lindsey in Andy's bed. With little memory of how exactly she ended up between those sheets, Lindsey would keep her eyes closed long enough to insure reality.
On this specific morning, Lindsey turned to the inside of the bed revealing her eyes to the bright morning light. Andy was still asleep, his chest rising and falling with steady even breaths. The heat radiating from his body was a comfort even though he never touched her. He always kept a secure distance from her body. He didn't slide an arm around her waist or try to kiss her neck. His eyes didn't undress her silently in the dark like she had experienced in every other bed she had ever shared. Andy was more of a sanctuary then anything else.
Through the silence of the apartment, Lindsey heard the coffee maker click on in the kitchen. A quiet groan later she was hurrying from the kitchen to Andy's room hopping into her jeans and changing her shirt. She was late, again. She tripped once as she tried to tie her shoes on the way to the elevator and she tripped again as she sprinted toward "Sip."
Still fastening her purple apron as the chiming bell announced her entrance, Lindsey got to work in just enough time to hear Sarah mutter, "9:17, you're getting better."
"I'm sorry," Lindsey huffed like she had each of the previous mornings.
"Three tables in the back need bussing," Sarah replied simply. Lindsey didn't understand why she hadn't been fired yet. Not only was she incapable of operating the cappuccino machine and the register; but she spent far more time looking out the window and snapping at customers then actually cleaning.
"Lindsey." Sarah called just an early evening rush was clearing out.
Leaving the old rag abandoned on a table near the door Lindsey hurried to the counter with her head hung. Surely this was the end of her first endeavor as a working girl.
"You're lucky, you know," Sarah told her with an empathetic smile, "Andy taking you in and all. He's amazing."
Lindsey cocked her side and listened to Sarah go on. "I've known him for a few years now, he always stops by when he's in town. He's so, insightful, so genuine,"
"But not so perceptive?" Lindsey joked understanding that once again, Sarah had not called her over for a stern discussion about what she was lacking as an employee.
"He just doesn't get it," Sarah sighed.
Lindsey shifted uncomfortably under Sarah's expectant gaze. She was not the kind of person you went to looking for advice, especially when it came to love. She was the kind of girl whose words needed to come with a warning label: Heartless. Trusting May Cause Bodily Harm.
"You can hang up your apron for the night," Sarah said gently when Lindsey didn't offer to talk to Andy for her, "I think a little music might liven me up a bit."
Lindsey didn't need to be told twice. She was set up before the microphone strumming a song she knew Sarah liked especially just as a few nightly regulars came in. It had almost become a comfortable routine, work in the morning, play a few sets at night, and then hurry back to the apartment with every hope of avoiding any serious conversation. It was easier to think of the small following she was starting to accumulate at "Sip" instead of the fluttering feeling she got when she got home to find that Andy had waited hopefully for her again.
Only about three songs into her first set, the bells above the door alerted her to the new customers. Ignoring the sweet chiming at first, Lindsey continued her song effortlessly. It wasn't until the first few chords of her next song called for a smile that she noticed four familiar faces sitting nestled in one of the back booths. Andy and his three friends, who despite spending a great deal of time at the apartment hardly convinced her to sort out their names, were watching intently as for the first time in her memory her words caught in her throat.
Anxiety caused her hands to shake on the strings of her trusty guitar. It had never failed her before tonight. Like the sugary slick coating that takes over your throat after drinking one too many bottles of cherry coke, her sudden stage fright was too heavy to swallow. She hadn't told Andy where she disappeared to everyday and she hadn't told him purposefully. She was a runaway whose current situation was on the borderline of settling down. Her job at "Sip" and her performances every night were the only part of her new life here that felt safe from him. He was hardly threatening with his slight smile in the back booth with his friends, but she knew that her secrets were no longer safe from him. This was the very beginning she would never be ready for. The beginning she hadn't ever wanted to be ready for.
Abandoning her guitar like she had abandoned the girl she used to be, Lindsey rushed from the little stage set up by the window out the front door. She left nothing but the quiet chiming of bells and a very confused audience.
Andy watched as she fled what could hardly be seen as a threatening situation. Lindsey wasn't the kind of girl who frightened easily. If she was though, she would have hardly jumped head first into living with a stranger. He thought they had become more then that though, in the ten days she had been living with him he thought they had maybe developed an odd sort of friendship. They shared light banter in the mornings and quiet thank you's and apologies when she tiptoed into his room at night. Her softening eyes indicated that in some sense she felt it too.
Joe brought him back to attention with a light jab to his side. Andy hadn't noticed Sarah approach their table. He hadn't even noticed she was working at all. She was simply just as homely as the cafÃ©'s dÃ©cor.
"Do you think she's okay?" Sarah said batting her eyelashes at him. Andy nodded too worried to carry on any polite conversation with her. Pete, on the other hand, took it upon himself to invite her to join them.
"I need to finish up a few things before my shift ends, sorry." She sighed. That wasn't exactly the kind of attention she had been hoping for. With concern for Lindsey swirling around his head, Andy had little room to notice her disappointment.
"I'm going to find her!" He stood up with deliberation, completely ignoring the perfect opportunity to tease Pete. Patrick and Joe rattled off jeering comments at his rejection like bullies on a playground. Pete pouted before quietly taking out his sidekick.
Leaving his friends to sulk and joke in the coffee shop still buzzing with theories and gossip, Andy was hit by the balmy night air and realized he had no idea where to even begin looking for her. She was a girl who had perfected the art of running away (of being a shadow). Every day was a battle just to keep her in his sight, and now he had simply allowed her to disappear into the darkness. He may never find her again.
Both too wearied and too stunned to go on searching for her much longer, Andy quickened his steps in the direction of the coffee shop hoping to find his friends still laughing (and sulking) in the back booth. He was hardly as lucky but managed to leave again with only a few words from Sarah.
About the time he sunk defeated into the couch in his apartment, Lindsey was stumbling from a bar not nearly a mile away. Full of giggles and barely capable of standing upright on her own, she stumbled through the night pleased with the effects that alcohol had on her. She had a cigarette between her lips, but was better suited to sharply inhale the air that would have pierced her lungs if it had been bitter or cold.
A light hiccup felt like a collapsed lung with her distorted sensitivity, but Lindsey welcomed the pain just as easily as she welcomed walking the empty streets alone. She could have easily called for a cab, she was still coherent enough to flag one down, and she had enough change to take a bus, but she chose the loneliness of wandering in the night. She chose it not because it was comforting or safe, but simply because it was not.
Tonight was nothing but a punishment; tonight was all she deserved. She had gone against everything she ever said she would do, she wasn't supposed to let Andy get close to her, she shouldn't wake up in the morning because she lived for the way he said her name. He made her weak, both in her mind and her knees.
The first release of alcohol came in a few gags near a garbage can in an alley. The liquid stung at her lips, which she had nervously bitten raw, before she was even given a chance to wipe the vomit away. Once she was writhing on her knees just waiting for the next bout of tears, she promised herself that this would be it; she would die before morning ever came. Death was the only suitable ending to her tragic story.
But poor wretched girls don't get their wishes to disappear under the polluted darkness of rivers near-by. They learn that the hard way. Poor wretched girls make it safely up to the third floor of downtown apartment buildings with just enough energy to knock on the door. They are greeted with mixed glances from Andy and his friends. They barely make it, stumbling and knocking things over, to the kitchen's garbage can before throwing up again.
"Lindsey!" Andy exclaimed picking her up off the tiled floor. She fought off any sort of embrace and dragged herself to the bathroom. Too careless to close the door behind her, she allowed just enough time for Andy to catch up to her.
"What happened to you?" He insisted pulled back her hair just as another round of heaving began.
"You're not...supposed to...be here," She screamed through hiccups, "You're...not...supposed to see me. I can't...just...leavenow."
"You're not making sense." He said sternly. With a smile playing at the edges of her mouth she rested her head on the wall besides the toilet.
"I don't like you." She sighed letting fatigue catch up with her for the first time, "You're just like all the other guys."
She nodded and murmured some sounds of emphasis and curse words as Andy lifted her from the ground once again. "We'll talk once you're semi-rational." He said although both were perfectly aware she wouldn't remember how his arms felt around her in the morning.