If you’d like to read “The Quiet Ones, Part 3” please click on the title.
Back at the house, Kari threw her purse and keys down on the kitchen counter and adjusted the thermostat. She lived in a small three bedroom duplex in South Austin with two friends. Temperatures in Central Texas could linger in the 100s for weeks on end in August. Recently they seemed to be hovering around 102. It made the six block walk from the bus stop feel like fifteen, and she shuttered to think what their electric bill would look like this month.
Kari took out her cell phone and plopped down on their Salvation Army couch. There were three missed calls, all from Chris. Shoot, hopefully she hadn’t missed out on an opportunity to see him. She usually left her phone in her purse when she was working. It was easy for things to get jostled out of her pockets when she was transferring Mabeline into her wheelchair or on and off the toilet. She didn’t want the phone to get damaged falling on the floor.
Without listening to his messages first, she called Chris back. “Kari?” he said hesitantly.
“The one and only,” she replied.
“Hey Kari, what ya doin?”
“Just takin’ a load off. I’ve been at work all day, ya know?”
“Yea, me too, but I’m off tomorrow – gotta work Saturday, though. Think you might wanna hang out tonight, since I don’t have to get up early?”
“Yea – I mean I have to get up early, so I can’t stay out too late, but I’m up for it.”
“Awesome, I’ll come over in about an hour.”
It was Thursday, so Kari only had one work day to get through if she had a late night. She’d make the sacrifice for Chris. It was unusual for Chris to get a Friday off or a Saturday. The dog groomer he worked for was closed on Sundays, so there was one day a week when their work schedules meshed. Chris was a little older, and he was enough of a computer geek to have worked for awhile on a company help desk. That job paid a lot better than the dog groomer did, and he had benefits, but when the economy tanked he was low man on the totem pole, and he got laid off.
Kari would have considered that a devastating set back, but Chris didn’t seem to mind. He said he liked bathing dogs more than running upgrades, or explaining to people for the umpteenth time that they had to reboot their machines occasionally to keep them working properly.
He’d had to give up his apartment, and move back in with his mother, which made dating a bit of a challenge. Sometimes it was tough to decide which was worse, trying to have a romantic moment with 2 room mates underfoot, or with your boyfriend’s mother trying way too hard to stay out of your way.
On the plus side, Chris had a car, and he didn’t mind driving her around on Sundays, so she could shop and run errands. He was sweet, and clever, and way too smart to be a dog bather in Kari’s opinion. But that’s what he wanted – to be a dog bather.
If you’d like to read “The Quiet Ones, Part 5” click on the title.
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