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Jill & I by Joe Moler
Jill and I
Evening had long since fallen on the weary buildings. I was driving across the bridge, slow music coming from the radio. Another day has passed, I thought, as my tired hands held the steering wheel and my eyes, full of specks, gazed out into the dark. My weary body was drying off from the sweat and, pressed deep into the seat, seemed to be resting separately, unattached to me. I still had to think, look and drive the car, but the body slumped into the seat seemed to be slowly falling asleep.
It had finished its task for the day. On the New York docks it had earned a decent wage, which it would live and fluctuate off through this great city. It would even treat itself to some small pleasure, nothing too expensive, as much as it could afford while leaving enough for the other, more important costs, which could not be avoided.
The radio was in prime form that evening, the music relaxing, the traffic fairly sliding through the boulevards, and I was rushing to my apartment for my well-deserved rest. The bridge remained behind me, Queens Boulevard was coming up, full of gray brick buildings and neon signs already lit.
SOME DAYS JUST SLIP OFF INTO THE DARK LIKE COIN INTO A FOUNTAIN AND REMAIN THERE, FORGOTTEN.
I fit into the Expressway heading towards Brooklyn and turned the steering wheel with tired hands, feeling the dried sweat-drenched shirt clinging to my body, tickling pleasantly as it moved.
I hadn't felt this weary in a long time; I had planned to do some shopping and then, perhaps, grab a drink, but gave up and rushed on towards my apartment.
The bathroom was in a mess. I shoved the piled-up dirty towels aside, picked up the soap and some underwear and was ready for a shower. While the spray caressed my cheeks and hair, I closed my eyes and softly sang one of the songs from the radio that I had listened to a lot lately. Coincidence, or did they simply play it at the same time, every day as I was driving home: "...everybody love somebody, sometimes..."
Yes, sometimes, but when is that "sometimes" I wondered, toweling off my back as I looked at myself in the mirror. "Everybody loves somebody, sometimes ...." I repeated, trying to believe the song. "Sometimes", when was that in my case? I sat on the couch, still rubbing with the towel, my hair this time as I gazed out the window.
When was that "sometimes" with me?
A few months ago, with the one from Indiana, yes, with Jill, exactly five months ago. A lovely girl, looking for a job in New York, sponging off me for room and board, cigarettes and drinks, going to meetings and employment agencies. All she could find was a small deal in a restaurant on Houston Street, for a couple of weeks only, till someone returned from vacation, and then the same old story again. Some guy kept promising her a job, but only if she moved in with him, for she had to be there when the boss needed her, he said. He was a bartender, from Indiana as well, and it seemed he was looking for a girl he could have daily and a cleaning lady for his filthy apartment at the same time.