Inside My Head

the literary rantings of Angie Frissore

California Waiting

Joe shoved a fistful of cash into the driver’s hand as the cab pulled up in front of the hotel.  We grabbed our bags and headed directly to the hotel bar, deciding that checking in was in no way the number one priority on our list.

“Excuse me, sir?” Joe asked, calling the bartender over.  “Can you put on the Yankee game”

“He means the Sox game,” I joked, giving Joe a playful jab in the rib.  We had just spent the better part of the day in airports and on long flights, entertaining all we encountered with our friendly baseball rivalry.  After the last round of over-priced airline cocktails, I had made a bet with Joe that the Sox would be up by now.

“Sorry to put a damper on things,” the bartender said with a smile, “but you’re not missing much.  Game’s been rained out.”

The disappointment of the rain out was soon washed away with lavish umbrella drinks and the warm October Anaheim sunshine.  We finished our drinks and decided to regroup in the lobby after checking into our rooms, to join the rest of the conference attendees at the night’s ‘social’ event.

I checked in to my room and tossed my suitcase on one of the two double beds.  After making a thorough sweep of the bathroom for proper assessment, I wandered out onto the balcony, where I was treated to a lovely view of Disney’s California Adventure.  I breathed in the west coast air and smoked a cigarette.

………..

“So what is this thing we have to go to?” Joe asked nervously.  Neither one of us were particularly fond of the idea of being forced into a social outing of this nature, let alone with two hundred state licensing reps.

“Dinner and some band over at the House of Blues,” I informed him.  “Here’s to hoping it’s not some country band.”

“What if it’s Snoop?” Joe asked jokingly.  “I saw a paper that said he was playing in town.”

“Yeah, and he was just jumping at the chance to do this gig,” I laughed, noting that we were, by far, the youngest people attending the conference.

Somehow we managed to survive the giant buffet dinner and even managed to schmooze with a dozen or so potential clients.  As we waited for the mystery band to finish sound check, Joe had decided that our work there was in fact done.

“Let’s go check out the park,” he suggested.  “It’s gotta be better than this.”

We roamed around Disney, realizing that unlike Florida’s Disney (the real one – who are we kidding), this one was mainly made up of restaurants and shopping outlets.  Within a half an hour, we found we had covered the park in its entirety.

“Alright, so what now?” I asked, overwhelmed with boredom.

“Aw, fuck it,” Joe muttered.  “Let’s just go grab a case of beer and go back to the hotel.”

We wandered down the palm tree-lined streets of Anaheim until we came to a 7-11.  We purchased a case of Bud Light, two packs of smokes, a six pack of coke (cans) and some chips and somehow made our way back to the hotel.

“Here, take this up to your room,” Joe said, handing me the beer.  “I’m gonna go change and then I’ll be up.”
I struggled with the case of beer and walked over to the elevators.  As I waited for the door to open, six large tour buses pulled up outside.  Suddenly, the lobby was flooded with conference participants, returning from the night’s festivities.  I stood there, embarrassed, holding a case of beer and a bag of chips.

“I’m following her!” shouted the head of the Colorado Department of Insurance.  The crowd erupted in laughter and smiling, I made my exit to the staircase.

…..

“Hey Abs!” Sam said cheerfully as he answered the phone.  “How the hell are you?”

“Good, good…listen, Sam, what would you say if I told you I’m in Anaheim right now?”

“I’d say I’m going to hop in my van,” he said, without hesitation.  Ever since Sam had moved to Vegas, the opportunities to see him and grown few and far between.  I had to make the most of being on the west coast, even if it was a four hour drive for him.

I hung up the phone and excitedly called Joe’s room, hoping there wasn’t anything we had to do that night.

“Well there’s always drinks in the hotel bar, but you could probably miss that,” Joe said.  “Who is this guy again?”

I gave Joe the abridged (censored) version of my history with Sam, up to the point where he had moved west.  Joe chuckled loudly.

“Nice Abby…gotta get it while the getting’s good, right? Dare I ask what it is that you did or do to get this guy to drive four hours?”

“Please,” I laughed.  “I somehow remember some married dude on the plane who instantly took off his wedding ring the second we were in the air…wingman.”

“Yeah…oh, about that,” Joe said slyly. “I’m making my move on Miss Louisiana tonight so…you know, have my back and all.”

“You’re disgusting.”

“At least I don’t have to call it in from four hours away!” he yelled, laughing.

“You’re just jealous,” I said, “’cause you struck out last night.”  The inevitable moment had occurred the night before that generally comes with large amounts of alcohol.  We had also acted like high school kids and smoked some of the weed Joe had smuggled with him from one of the Coke cans.  Well into the third episode of Chappelle’s Show, Joe dropped the bomb.

Flash me…just once,” he had pleaded.

“Nooo-ho-hooooo fucking way, man.” I wasn’t quite sure whether or not to take him seriously.

“Please? Why not? Real quick….”

“No, now fuck off. Or I’ll call your wife.” Though I had said the comment with an air of sarcasm, part of me might have been serious.

“Touché,” Joe said, his ego slightly wounded.  “Whatever man, I’m off to work my magic.”

“Yeah – good luck with that, Joe.”
……….

My high heels echoed as I walked down the long, empty hallway towards the parking garage door.  As I got closer to the door, my stomach was increasingly filled with butterflies.  It had been over a year since I had seen Sam, and within minutes, I’d be in his arms.

I stepped outside to the curb and looked around, and my cell phone rang.

“I just parked, baby,” Sam said.  Even the sound of his voice made me swoon.  “I’ll see you in a minute!”

My eyes darted back and forth across the darkened garage, looking for Sam’s tall slender frame, when he came half-strutting out of the shadows.  I kicked off my heels and ran across the street and into his arms.

….

We laid on the bed, scanning the remnants of a room service binge (Joe had generously given me the tip that our boss was not one to care about hotel charges, thus we took full advantage).  I rolled over and laid across Sam as he lit a cigarette for me.

“So tell me what’s new in the life of Ms. Harris,” Sam said.

“A whole lot of nothing good,” I said with a laugh.  “Really though…things are pretty much…the same.”

“Things are never pretty much the same with you, you devious little thing,” he said, pulling me in for a passionate kiss.  Suddenly, the world around me ceased to exist.  I loved being with Sam because when we were together, we were our own little world.  Nothing else mattered.

We laid in the dark, basking in the familiar afterglow that made one year seem like one day.  We talked about our dreams, our hopes, our futures.

“I don’t know,” Sam pondered.  “I just don’t see myself ever getting married.”

“No?” I asked, not quite sure how we had gotten on the topic of marriage – not necessarily to each other, but in general.  “Not ever?”

“I just don’t see the point.  I mean, I can be with the woman I love without having to conform to a legal contract, right?”

“Yeah, I guess that makes sense,” I said softly, laying my head on his chest.  I had never envisioned myself getting married either, but somehow, at that moment, Sam’s statement shot through my heart like an arrow.  As we laid there in silence, Sam stroked my hair and kissed my forehead.

“For what it’s worth,” he said quietly, “I do love you.”

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October 2, 2008 - Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , ,

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