A Walk in the Park

Pammy sat in her car watching the soft rain fall on the lake through her blurry windshield   The downpour made bouncing dimples on the surface of the water and the leaves of the trees were doing a slow bob as the raindrops fell. Looking out her window she could see a small river of water flowing down the parking lot and past her car. The blacktop shimmered as the water flowed, blurring and smudging the white lines. 

“He isn’t coming” Rebecca had told her when she called her to kill time. “He’s self centered and he doesn’t care about your feelings.” She had said with vehemence. “Look, I know how you feel about him and about this but it’s my life and my choice” Pammy had said right before she heard the click of the phone in her ear and realized that Rebecca had once again hung up on her. 

Rebecca was Pammy’s younger step sister and they’d been through thick and thin but they were completely different people. Pammy was softer in every way. She was curvy and a little plump and her personality was sweet and kind whereas her step sister was the opposite. Rebecca was all hard edges and angles. She was thin and bony and even her haircut was sharp and asymmetrical. As children Rebecca was constantly saving Pammy from difficult or complicated situations and as a result their roles had reversed as they grew older with Rebecca taking on the big sister role. 

“He will come” Pammy said out loud to herself as she flicked on the defrost to keep the windshield clear. It had been nearly a year since she had seen him but she knew that he loved her and wanted a relationship. She had been very patient with him since they had met on her eighteenth birthday. Rebecca had insisted upon going with her and Pammy didn’t have the energy to fight with her. They’d had dinner together, the three of them and as expected the conversation had been stilted and uncomfortable but he and Pammy had forged a bond and it was important to Pammy to continue that. 

He worked a lot and was out of town a great deal so Pammy tried to stay as flexible as she was able so they could see each other when he was available. For two years they’d stayed in touch never letting more than a few days go by without a phone call, text, email or dinner out. Rebecca had gotten tired of monitoring the situation and washed her hands of it all. That worked very well for them because as they’d gotten better acquainted they talked about many things and, without Rebecca’s caustic humor, had formed an easy camaraderie. 

Suddenly, as fast as he had entered her life he had disappeared. She sent messages and left voice mails and would occasionally get an email reply assuring her he was fine, “Just busy”. Pammy tried to stay patient and hide the fact that he was MIA from Rebecca so she didn’t have to hear her say “I told you so!” After a while though she confided in Rebecca who after all was her best friend and biggest supporter and after sitting and listening to the lectures and the admonitions was glad to have her shoulder to cry on. 

Pammy glanced at the clock on her dash. He was forty five minutes late. She had been so surprised to get a call from him. She barely recognized his voice and his cell phone number had changed. “Hey Kitten”, he’d said in his soft dulcet voice. “How’ve you been?” As if he hadn’t disappeared off the planet for eleven months and four days. Pammy wanted to yell and scream and harangue him for his outrageous behavior but instead she just melted into him. “Hey… Uh fine I guess” she’d said choking back tears of hurt, anger and relief. “Where are you? What are you up to?” she’d asked him softly almost as if she were afraid he might bolt like a deer in the woods. “Oh you know I’m around” he’d said as cagily as ever. “What do you say I grab some coffees and we take a walk in Prairie Park next Tuesday night? I have business that will take me up that way and I’d love to see you.”

She had agreed of course and here she waited. He was rarely on time and she was accustomed to it. The rain had begun to subside so Pammy rolled her window a little and shut off the engine. Craning her neck she checked the lot to make sure she hadn’t missed his car before realizing that she really had no idea if he was still driving the same vehicle or not. 

Once, Pammy had sat waiting for an hour at a Starbucks only to find out later that he had gone to a different Starbucks and waited for her as well. Rebecca had been skeptical. “If he was sitting there waiting for you why didn’t he call?” She had asked Pammy while they made breakfast together in Pammy’s tiny kitchen. “Everyone knows you are never late” she’d added as she’d poured pancake batter. Pammy had no real response to that, mostly because she kind of agreed with Rebecca. She just didn’t want to overthink things which he constantly accused her of in that teasing tone he could get with just a little bit of sharpness behind it. 

She loved him and wanted things to work out. Her whole life she had been searching for the kind of love that she got from the relationship with him. She was willing to make an effort to make things work and would do anything she could to keep him in her life. 

When he’d started to borrow money from her she had been hesitant but knew he would pay her back. Just in case though she hadn’t mentioned it to Rebecca. When he had disappeared last year she had tallied it up and was surprised to discover that he now owed her more than a thousand dollars. In a moment of weakness she’d confided this in Rebecca who had reacted exactly as Pammy had predicted she might.  Rebecca had insisted her first words today should be “Where’s my money asshole?” Pammy had decided though that she wouldn’t ask him about money today. This was, after all, a reunion of sorts. 

Pammy glanced again at her dash – sixty five minutes late. She put her hand out to start the ignition just as his blue boxy car pulled up alongside hers. “Hey Kitten” he said with an easy smile as he rolled down his passenger window. “Where you going? I’m just a few minutes late” he said glancing at his watch. Pammy smiled and said “Oh did we plan to meet at 6:00? I thought we’d said 5:00” knowing full well their plans were for an hour earlier. “No matter Pammy” he said heartily as he rolled his tall lanky frame from his car. “Let’s walk, I have the coffees on the passenger seat. Can you grab them? I can’t wait to tell you about this great investment opportunity I just heard about” he said over his shoulder as he walked briskly toward the park’s walking path. “Looks like it might start raining again, let’s hurry”. 

“Okay Dad” Pammy said as she climbed out of her car and opened his passenger door. “I’m hurrying” she said with a resigned smile as she hit the path. In her mind she heard Rebecca’s voice saying “I wonder how much this is going to cost you”. 

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