“What was I thinking? I knew it was a waste of time.”
“But it got you off the horse,” my friend, Lisa, said later that night over drinks at the bar where she works.
“I felt like an idiot. She asked me what I did at Starbuck’s, and I could see her interest in me just slip away with the first syllable out of my mouth.”
“Her loss if she couldn’t see what a great asset you would have been to the company. It’s brand new, isn’t it? I can’t imagine they can be all that picky about whom they hire the first year or two of business.”
“Yeah, well, they seem to be doing quite well for a business that’s only existed for seven months. I mean, they already have two projects finished, and I read on their website that they have five more near completion. That’s pretty impressive for a construction company.”
“I suppose. But they would have been much better off with you among their rank.”
I shook my head. While I was grateful for Lisa’s encouragement, I knew I’d made a mistake by applying there. I let my desperation to save my aunts’ house color my logic. It was just hard to accept the fact that my poor, elderly aunts were going to have to leave the home they’d lived in their entire lives.
“At least you met a guy.”
I snorted. “A guy whose name I didn’t even get. And he was so…” An image of him filled my mind again, nearly taking my breath, as it had when I was standing in front of him. “He’s way too far out of my league.”
“No one is out of your league unless you want him to be. At least, that’s my philosophy.”
Yes, well, this was coming from the girl who dated everyone from the president of the chess club to the star quarterback of our high school football team. She was not incredibly picky about the men she dated. Last week, she went out with a forty-year-old divorcé who cried about his children all through dinner. And she slept with him. Told me it was because she felt sorry for him. And, predictably, she never heard from him again. Probably went back to his wife. But that didn’t seem to faze Lisa. She had a date in less than an hour with one of her customers here at the bar.
I lifted my drink and swallowed more than I’d intended to. Life really sucked sometimes. I wasn’t looking forward to going home and telling my aunts I’d failed them.
Lisa touched my shoulder. “Don’t look so down in the dumps, kiddo. Something will happen for you. I have a good feeling.”
I pressed my hand to hers. “I wish I had your optimism.”
“You don’t need it. I’m optimistic enough for the both of us.”
I kissed her cheek as I stood to leave. “Call me tomorrow. Let me know how your date went.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to come along? I’m sure he could find a friend…”
I walked out of the bar into the cool evening air, a surprisingly mild start to a North Texas summer. I walked slowly down the street, taking small enjoyment from the exercise. I’d been on my feet most of the afternoon, thanks to my job, but it was nice to stretch my legs, and to do it at my own pace without someone yelling at me for taking too long to present them with a latté or a cappuccino. I wished I knew an easy way to get my hands on two hundred fifty thousand dollars. Or just the thirty thousand my aunts were behind. Maybe I could call the bank again, convince them to give my aunts another extension. They were nice. That Mr. Simons really didn’t want to foreclose on two old ladies. But I’d gotten the impression the last time we talked that his hands were quickly becoming tied on the issue.
Where would my aunts go when the house was gone? I’d thought about approaching the subject of an assisted living center. They could have their own apartment but have people nearby to help them. I mean, they were still pretty capable. But they needed my help more and more lately—paying the bills, reminding them to turn off the burners in the kitchen, helping them find their glasses, reminding them to take their medications—I didn’t like the idea of them living completely alone. But putting them into some sort of assisted living seemed like labeling them incapable, and I didn’t like that, either.
I didn’t know what to do. But I knew I had to make a decision soon, or someone else would make it for me.
“Watch out. Hot one just walked through the door.”
I rolled my eyes at Beth, as I grabbed the latté from her hand and turned back to the drive-thru window. “Here you are,” I said with a smile to the harried woman in the minivan. “Have a great day.”