In Providence

In Providence: The Date

“I used to get out of work late sometimes and I would walk home. I don’t live far — just like, two miles? I don’t like where I live. The area is good, but my place is me and my cousin who lives with me, and he works third shift, so he’s got to sleep and I can’t– I worry about making noise or doing something like that. I’m not noisy, but knowing you can’t make a noise is stressful, so a lot of the time, I’ll go walking or I keep walking if I’m coming home — I just keep going. A lot of times I walk around until it’s time for him to go to work and then I come home and it’s like– By then, I’m ready to go to bed myself. That’s how it was for a long time.”

He works at a Family Dollar. I promised that I wouldn’t say which one, but originally, we had planned to talk about what it’s like working there.

That was in early March.

“The day– I think it was the day you and I were going to talk. Or it was the day before we were going to talk. I was going to go out that night with this girl– We met a little while before that at this concert my boy took me to, and she told me I was cute. I thought she was cute too. She’s in school and she lives on the East Side — she’s on Arnold Street. I don’t have a car, but she was going to come pick me up. My cousin was making fun of me that some girl was going to come pick me up, but I don’t mind a girl picking me up. Why not? She has a nice car too, but I didn’t care about that. I just liked– She joked with me going– First she told me she was going to be busy until May with her schoolwork and things she’s doing, but maybe we could have a summer thing. She’s upfront like that. She tells it like it is and so do I, but I’m quiet mostly. She’s not. I was cool with a summer thing though, but we were going to get a couple of dates in first. That was the plan.”

That was the plan until we entered the Weirds.

Now here’s where things get interesting, and not just because this was when everything got interesting.

The day they were going to go out on their date, she stopped by his work and asked if she could take him to lunch. She said she’d been thinking about him and just felt like she wanted to see him. They’d been talking on the phone and texting, but this was a surprise. He asked his manager if he could take a little bit longer for lunch, and she said that was okay, so they went to lunch still planning to hang out again that night.

“I remember people coming in that night before we closed and hearing them talk about– It was like something went down, but you couldn’t say what it was. You just felt it. We weren’t that busy and we’d normally be busier than that. Something just felt wrong, and when I took my last break, I checked my phone and people were starting to panic. I had messages from my friends. I had one from her, too.”

The message asked if he still wanted to go on a date that night. She was feeling nervous, but she still wanted to see him. He said he wanted to see her too, and that was all she needed to hear. She picked him up at work, and they grabbed some food.

“The only thing is, after that– We’re sitting at the restaurant, and we’re both still not feeling right, and she looks at me, and it’s like– Do you want me to bring you home or do you want to come home with me? It’s not like how it sounds, but it’s like– I don’t want to be alone. Cool, I don’t want to be alone either. That was it.”

They went back to her house and they’ve been there ever since.

“I was going to be off the schedule at work for two days, but I called my manager, and they were already looking to let some people go at that time. I told them they could let me go, and I called my cousin to say I wouldn’t be home. I’m going to ride it out with this girl. He thought there was something wrong with me, but something just told me if I didn’t stick it out with this girl then I was going to put myself in a bad situation, because I’d be walking home every night by myself. Being by myself with my cousin sleeping in the room next to mine. I wasn’t trying to do the wrong thing and be around people I shouldn’t be around, but she and I decided we wanted to try being together thinking it wasn’t going to be that long and then if we weren’t sick of each other, we could keep going.”

And now that it looks like this is going to go on for awhile?

“I don’t care. She’s the best person I’ve met in a long time. I think she likes me too, but you can ask her that. We just hang with each other. That’s it. It’s been her and me now all these weeks. She does her thing and I’ve been helping out. Her place– She lives in this old house and all this shit was falling apart. I started fixing it. Making myself useful. We’re learning a lot about each other and I think we’ll be together after this– I do.”

Now that restrictions are starting to loosen up, does he think they’ll finally get their second date? He laughs at the question, and cracks a joke.

“I think my cousin’s worried he won’t have our place to himself anymore, but– I don’t think he has to worry about that. I think he’s going to be on his own for a while.”

He tells me his cousin won’t mind, though. Some people like being on their own, and as for those who don’t, hopefully they find someone like them.

Someone who doesn’t mind picking you up.