/Whois - Chapter 19 - The Second Meet and The Second Invitation to Australia
I came home from work the next day with the paperwork and with a grin of triumph I plunked the entire stack in front of Jerry.
"There! We start next Wednesday!" I said, very pleased with my efforts.
"What is this?" Jerry asked as he riffled through the papers and pamphlets.
"Wednesday night is OUR night. We'll have dinner together and then go to class. I've signed us up for American Sign Language."
"Yup...this way, even if silence comes...we'll be ready for it. And in the meantime, we can have some fun learning something new...our own secret language sort of...what do you think?"
"What a great idea!"
Jerry lasted two classes...and I lasted five. It wasn't as much fun going alone. Obviously he was not as committed to eluding silence as I'd been led to believe. To make it worse, one night at the bar, returning to my seat from a trip to the ladies' room I overheard my beloved snickering to Dwayne...
"...and so I said...hehehe...I know that eventually I have to live in silence...but do I have to do it now?"
Oh they both had a good laugh at that one. Yep...my husband...he was a smart one alright. What a fool I'd been to fall for it. I think that was truly when I began to hate him.
I decided to do a bit more sleuthing at his computer, but to my surprise...it was locked down tighter than a military base. He wanted to play...fine. I was going to show him how to REALLY play...
My plans however were temporarily put on hold by a phone call. It was Kimbrr.
"Sno...we're having a sort of impromptu meet here in Toronto...a sort of goodbye party. Would you come?" she asked hesitantly.
"Well...sure Kimbrr...but who are we saying goodbye to?" I answered with a bit of confusion.
For a while now, Kimbrr had been romantically involved with a new man. He lived in Australia...it seemed like a lot of men lived in Australia. Evidently it had become serious enough that she was determined to pack her bags, sell her home and leave everything she knew behind...just to be with him. He was a great guy...in my opinion. I'd spent time chatting him up and playing a few rousing games of "Name that Midi" on several afternoons with him. With the relatively new availability of voice to voice chat, a whole new world had opened up for all of us that owned microphones. I especially enjoyed the feature during online chess matches. It was so much more gratifying when your opponent could actually hear you gloat.
"I don't want to go to Toronto for a meet again," Jerry petulantly declared folding his arms.
I merely shrugged...
"You weren't invited...just me. If you want to go fine, but if you don't...I'm still going."
Where had this woman come from? I don't know. The person that was me six months ago would never have thought to simply state her mind and give a take it or leave it ultimatum. Why hadn't I done this before...was it really THAT easy?
Wisely, Jerry chose to accompany me without further argument. It was definitely not a friendly trip and there were no star-filled night skies above lonely fields on the way. In fact, it was a white-knuckled trip due to the weather. We left New Hampshire just as the snow was falling, deciding to take a more southerly route due to the storm coming in. By the New York border, the Barneymobile was encased in a four inch thick block of ice that had to be chiseled away so that the headlights could do their job. Tractor trailers were jack-knifed on the highways and every few miles we came across one accident after another.
By the time we arrived at the hotel that would double as the meet site, the two of us were exhausted beyond belief. We fell into our bed...just grateful to have made it without incident.
All too soon it seemed, there was a banging at our door...followed by a banging on another door further down the hallway...along with cries of "Get up, get up...it's time for breakfast!" I poked my head out the door and spied another rumpled head poking out the door across the hall.
"Who wazzat?" I mumbled...
"Kimbrr...I think," came the fuzzy reply...
The meet was on.
There were a few different faces this time. Cronos, the northern hemisphere hacker was there with his girlfriend and friend. It was kind of cool...he looked like John Lennon. Kali couldn't escape work on such short notice so I hooked up with Chica, a business woman from Chicago. Looking at her, you would not think she was a chatter at all. I could see her in a business suit with a Gucci handbag...but not entering a room with a six pack in one hand and a bag of chips in the other telling us all that she was the perfect woman as she held up the two items.
We assembled in Kimbrr's suite after breakfast since it was the largest room...of course. She didn't have a fridge to hold all of the beer that was hauled in, but Mother Nature was feeling magnanimous and had turned the outside into a great cold storage facility. We simply placed the assorted racks, cases and bottles out on the balcony for safe keeping.
At first it was a bit awkward. There were about twenty or so of us, sitting in a large circle...just staring at eachother. My right hand fiddled with my pack of cigarettes on the table top...my fingers itching to talk.
Finally, Cronos started laughing...
"Hey Sno...love the mouse placebo you brought!"
And with that...the ice was broken. It was total mayhem. There was a bottle cap flinging contest that had a lot of people ducking. Cronos' friend became the butt of a rather funny joke but he was too drunk to realize it. Every time he would get up to use the bathroom, we'd all take our empties and stick them under the couch cushion he was sitting on. The poor bastard never even notice that by the time the party was over he was actually sitting about three feet higher than the rest of us. We were just damn lucky that not a single bottle broke...a glass shard in the ass might have been painful.
During the entire party, Jerry sat about two feet behind me in the corner, his arms folded, his lips compressed into a frown of disapproval...and his hearing aids missing. Kimbrr shot me a questioning look, but I just shrugged. If there was time later...I would explain. If not, I wasn't about to let him ruin a good time...especially since I might not ever see Kimbrr again after this meet.
Eventually we all ran out of things to say...and beer to drink. Slowly people left to find their own beds. Jerry jumped up and grabbed my arm.
"Let's go...time for bed."
Kimbrr reached out and snagged my other arm.
"Not so fast...do you think I'm going to clean all this mess up MYSELF?"
She pulled...Jerry pulled...
"Stop it...both of you," I interjected. "Of course you don't have to clean up this mess yourself...I'll stay and help."
I turned to Jerry and told him I'd come to the room when I was done helping Kimbrr...and summarily dismissed him.
Kimbrr and I stood there for five minutes or so....waiting...and then she opened the door to the balcony, retrieved two bottles of beer that she had tucked off into the corner and handed me one before plunking down into a comfortable chair.
"Okay...so tell me what is going on...you don't look so good y'know..."
It took a while for me to tell her everything, especially when she kept interrupting me with comments like "that bastard!" Eventually though, I came to the end of my tale and looked at the clock.
"Anyway...that's what I've been dealing with. I figure Jerry is probably in our room now wondering if he should come and haul me away...so I better go."
"You do realize it's too far gone don't you? Seagrams is too far gone...and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it. You have to think of yourself...understand? Stop thinking about how you can make things better for everyone else for a change...think about what's best for you."
I nodded. In my heart, I knew there was a seed of truth to what she was saying...but still...this was MY fault. I'd done this.
"I just wish there was a way that both of us...Seagrams and I...could be happy. Y'know?"
Kimbrr said she understood, but in her eyes I can see she thought I was being a fool...just wasting my time.
"Well...all I'm saying is..if it doesn't work out, give me a little time to get settled and you know where to find me."
I knew where to find her. Australia.
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