Doug wasn’t interested. Not really. He’d seen way too many kids come and go, either through graduation or through graduation or because they were dropouts. Sometimes shit sucked that way and then you got use to it because it was the only way you were.
“Well,” said the girl, “Sorry you’re homeless.”
Doug chuckled at this. He’d never heard someone apologize for the fact it lived in a tent and tarp under the bridge under the apartment buildings, but still right on the edge of the swamp. It was a mudpit. Even if he had the money to do laundry every week it wouldn’t be enough. The mud simply smeared everywhere.
“Why’s that funny?” asked the girl.
“My sister wouldn’t ever give me an apology. Or my mother and father.”
“Do you I look like her or something?” asked the mousy haired girl.
“No,” said Doug. “You look nothing alike. My sister–well, last time I saw her was much more mainstream than you are.”
“Yes,” said Doug. “She’d never get her hair short or wear a scarf like that.”
“Just because I cut my hair short doesn’t mean I’m gay, and just because I wear a scarf like this doesn’t make me a hippy.”
“I know that,” said Doug. He closed the book, closed the pages of What We Talk About when We Talk About Art, resigned to the fact that the young woman wasn’t going to let him read.
“You want a coffee?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he said.
“What do you like?”
“There’s a lot of different coffees you can get.”
“Just get me something black,” said Doug.
“I’ll be right back.”
Mousy left and Doug sat back in the chair. Outside the misting of the town had turned an onslaught of larger water bombs and Doug turned his head in order to watch each one fall and slap the pavements. He liked to think he saw each one exploding there in the road, on peoples shoulders as they walked by. It was nonsense though. He couldn’t see shit. He could only see a static in his vision which was the rain coming down and making people miserable and he knew his tent would be filling up with water as he sat there and hopefully it didn’t rise the swamp level too much or head be out of luck for anywhere to sleep.
He turned and picked up the book again. The door opened and he looked up. It wasn’t Mousy. It was an older woman. Doug opened the book and began to read. He’d just gotten to some dialogue. Something worth reading. The part when Mel, the cardiologist says, The kind of love I’m talking about you don’t try to kill people. And that was when the door opened and Mousy came in holding to paper cups.
“I didn’t know if you liked milk and sugar, but most people don’t really like black coffee so I put a little of both in.”
“Thanks,” said Doug taking the cup she held out.