I had just delivered a car in Indianapolis. I was feeling sort of melancholy and introspective. Why was I still driving cars all over the country when it wasn't getting me anywhere? Well, it got me from Point A to Point B, but it wasn't moving me forward in my life. Bill Thomas, driving fool, lonely guy. Something was missing from my life, and I just... Lots of confusion, frustration and sadness flooded over me.
I walked downtown trying to clear my mind. Think happy thoughts! I walked past the Cafe where Karen used to work, only now it was just an empty space, not being used for anything. Karen, my one true love, my fantasy girl. Too bad she liked girls more than me, but I still loved her anyway. Guess that says a lot about me.
Last time I saw her was last Thanksgiving at her home in Richmond, when I had the misfortune of taking a pain pill while drinking and getting all whacked out. I professed my deep love for her and said I wanted her to be my wife. Really freaked her out, and I hadn't had the chance to try to fix the situation. Or more correctly, I had not yet made the effort.
I felt a poke in the middle of my back. I turned around and couldn't believe my eyes. It was Karen, standing right there in front of me. "Karen, what are --"
"Shh!" she said.
She grimaced. "I said SHH!"
"How did you--"
She interrupted me by putting her finger to my lips. "Don't talk. Don't say a word. Just come with me." She took my hand and led me down the block. We turned down a street and went a few more blocks, then entered a very nice hotel. She took me to the elevator and we went to the next to the top floor. We got off and went down the hall, and she took out a key and opened a door.
"Karen, please tell me--"
She yanked me into the room behind her. "What is it that you don't understand about SHH? Be quiet, OK?"
I nodded. But I really did want to know what was going on, why she was here, how she found me, and a lot of other questions. Last time I saw her things were tense and dicey, so I wanted to know where we stand. I watched her sit down and take off her shoes. I knew I was supposed to keep my mouth shut, but I had to ask. "Karen, last time I saw you things were kind of messed up. Are we--"
This time she put her entire hand over my mouth. She shook her head and laughed. "Shut up and kiss me, will you?" I didn't hesitate for a second, I grabbed her and kissed her passionately on the lips. It had been a long time, although I had dreamed of this more times than I could count. And the reality was so much better than the fantasy.
Four hours later, I woke up in the bed alone. I hoped it hadn't all been a dream. And then Karen walked out of the bathroom, dressed and ready to go. "Thank you," she said.
"No, no, thank you!"
"I needed that."
"Well I'm very glad I could be of service."
"Just don't ruin it and tell me that you're in love with me."
"OK. But I am, you know."
She nodded and let out a sigh. "Yep, I know." She walked over to the door. "Can you let yourself out? I have to get back to the east coast and make sure my new Cafe hasn't burned down or anything."
"I have a flight leaving in two hours. Gotta go." She started to open the door and then turned around to face me. "Cheryl died a week ago. She's been sick for a while, that's why I had to rush off last Thanksgiving. To be with her. I was here for the funeral." I didn't know what to say. Cheryl was her ex-lover, and though they had split up Karen could not seem to get over her.
"I'm sorry to hear."
"No you're not. But that's OK. I thought I'd walk over and take a look at the old restaurant that we ran together, and there you were. Just when I needed you."
I shrugged. "I'm sincerely sorry that you are hurting."
She smiled at me. "Come see me in Richmond soon. I miss you all the time."
"Count on it," I told her. She walked out the door, and my heart went with her.