This is set a few years down the road. I included some of my friends too.
The sun slips through the rain clouds. Spring smells drift through the downtown air. Dante rolls over to hit the snooze button. Sure, he might be late. But people are used to him being late on his day off. Baby Girl stirred as he rose and went to sleep in the window.
In the other room She is reading her novel. A cup of warm tea waiting for him on the table. She had an hour before leaving for work. When Dante’s sleepy brain remembers this fact he rolls out of bed and into some clothes.
“Good morning,” he greets Her.
“How was work last night,” She asks him as he picks up the green tea.
“Thank you for the tea,” he tries to wake up. But gratitude is always the most important thing. As he sips he explains the previous day at the store. Being an assistant manager isn’t as easy as some made it appear. There are a lot of problems people could solve themselves. People who try to do too much, and people who try to do too little. But last night was a good night. The store was busy, but he had a good team.
With a kiss She popped out of her chair. Well time for work. Dante motioned to the fridge. “You see your lunch?”
“Aww, lunch, thank you,” She gushed. Clearly also understanding the value of appreciation. “What are your plans for today?”
“Well it is my hiking day,” Dante said. “Me and Rhonda are going to hike Mount Hamilton. It has been a couple weeks since I’ve been to the summit. One of the best views in the area.”
“And how is Rhonda doing at her new store,” She asked.
The move for Rhonda was a good one, it got her closer to her home. And it put her into a department manager position. Dante explained how she was enjoying her new store and co-workers. But the move was also triggered by his own promotion, to avoid any appearance of favoritism.
“Are we still on for the art show later this week,” She asked getting dressed. He couldn’t help but sneak a peek. She was amazing, a breath taking image he hardly believed to be real on some days.
“Yes, and she’ll bring the kids too. I think Michelle will also be going: it is going to be a fun night,” Dante told Her.
“I’m glad your friends are going to be there to support your art,” She said. “I know it means a lot to you, and so do they.”
“Kara said she would try and make it along, but since I got the night off she might have to close,” Dante explained. Kara still worked in the same store with him. She was also an assistant manager now. It has been fun he would think to himself to grow at Walmart with his friends. Even if for some of them the growth took them to other stores.
On the table his phone buzzed. It was Rhonda messaging him to see how late he would be today. They had planned to meet at Fisher’s Landing. It was an easy drive for her from Ridgefield. Her new house was just down the street from where Bobby used to live. Of course Bobby was now a department manager in Longview.
Quickly he finished his tea. Then gave Her a hug on her way out the door. Getting dressed, he sent a reply saying he was almost ready. Since he was driving against traffic he imagined it would be a smooth ride. Of course driving was easier in his new car. The Hyundai Tucson was a good car.
The car had been his first purchase with the money from his book deal. Some days he still didn’t know how he ever found the time to write the novel of his life. But he wondered more about the courage. Where did he find enough to have it published. Was it really such an interesting life. A publisher picked it up, and sales have been good. Not A Million Little Pieces good. But he also wouldn’t have to go on Oprah and explain why he lied.
His next novel was due out next year. Still in the writing process, it would be tales of travel. Something like On The Road, but not as boring. There had been many tales left out of his first book. The girls in Burlington and the pizza too. There were so many friends on his path. When he did a reading at Powell’s for his first book people asked about the next book. It felt good to be read. For so long he felt like his words were just there. And now his words had a new life. And his life has new meaning. His publisher suggested a third book based on his short life as a journalist.
But now he had gotten lost in thought and was going to be even later. Lets get moving he snapped to himself and picked up his keys. The Planet Fitness membership card struck the door as he locked up.