This is the next installment of Lawrence of Suburbia. I guess that is stating the obvious since it isn't the last installment. Once again we peak in on the niave college girl alone in the not so big town. Now if you are just joining us, too bad, I'm not telling you what is going on. You have to go back here and read this and then this, then this. So lets go back to those thrilling days of yesteryear and the adventures of....
Part IV – Life Lessons
Gladys enjoyed her time with Omar. She would meet him for dinner or accompany him on drives through the countryside. He was always a gentleman and never made suggestions that were untoward. He would visit Gladys at her job or they would meet at the Ice House Bar.
She loved working her afternoons at the department store and picked up extra hours by working in the office. Mr. Bean, the store manager, treated her as if she were one of his own children. He would ask if she had eaten, gotten her oil changed and made it to all her classes. He was a jovial and fatherly type who always had a kind word and peppermints in his pocket. “Gladys would you mind terribly running this deposit to the bank?” he asked one afternoon. She was thrilled with this new task and proud that he had that much faith and trust in her. She took the locked bank bag, swung her blue jean purse over her shoulder and walked to her car.
Gladys walked into the First National Bank building and made her way to the teller line marked “commercial”. She felt so grown up and important standing there with her fellow business people. An elderly man with a blue suit and brown cowboy boots stood in front of her. All around her were important people conducting business. They were applying for loans and depositing their day’s earnings and there she was in the middle of it all, feeling just as important. The teller motioned her forward with a smile. “Hi! How are ya today?” the pretty red haired girl asked. Gladys liked this woman working in this big bright beautiful building that had the aroma of money wafting through its rafters. They chatted as the red haired girl named Eunice tallied up the deposit and stamped the slip. Eunice smiled as she handed the bag through the slot “you come back to my window and we’ll chat some more. Ok?” Gladys promised she would and almost skipped back to her car. She loved being independent and grown up. She could make friends and take on new responsibilities and didn’t have to worry about how late she stayed out or wonder what her mother would say.
Gladys was in General Psychology class. Dr. Thornton was droning on and on about narcissistic behavior. His class was in a large auditorium type class room that was once again packed. She looked to her left and saw one of her study partners signaling. Dave, a city policeman, kept mouthing something. Gladys tilted her head to the side and made a questioning gesture. Dave pointed toward the door, then at his watch then back at the door. Finally she figured out he was asking to meet him after class. Gladys figured it was something about the upcoming observation project on which they were partnering. She slapped her forehead then smiled and nodded yes and went back to taking as many notes as possible.
“So, what have you been up to” Dave asked over coffee. Gladys smiled and told him about the guy she had been seeing. He listened intently, but his demeanor changed when she told him that he owned the most popular salon in town. He leaned in toward her and asked “so how close are you to this guy?” Gladys smiled wistfully and said “well, I kind of think of him as a big brother or fairy god-father.” Dave looked her in the eyes with concern and said “well be careful.” She passed it off to the fact that Dave was a cop; he was suspicious and protective by nature. Gladys also had a gleaming of an idea that it had to do with the fact that Omar was 20 years her senior.
“Where is my little one?” Gladys heard him ask as she was packing up the store’s deposit. “Omar! What are you doing here” she asked as she came through the office door. He grabbed her shoulders and kissed each cheek “I came to see if my little one had eaten today.” Gladys blushed and looked to see if her co-workers had witnessed the exchange “nope, don’t have time. I’m on my way to the bank.” Omar looked at the bag and then up at Gladys “what bank?” Gladys held the bank bag up and said “First National! I met the nicest teller there. Hey why don’t you go with me?” Omar’s eyes narrowed and he coughed “oh, no your boss would not like that. I must get back to the shop. I will see you later.” He turned and left without another word. Gladys stood looking out the front window as he drove off.
She did not see Omar for several weeks after this exchange. She wanted to call him and ask if she had done something wrong, if she had angered him. She wanted to call him and tell him she missed their walks and talks. She wanted to speak to him but she was brought up not to call boys or in this case men. She was taught that they were to call you. The truth was she couldn’t call him, because she didn’t have his phone number. She didn’t have a clue where he lived and the girls at the salon always said he was out when she just happened to be in the neighborhood. She was crushed, heartbroken, forlorn and in emotional angst.
She stood in line at the bank waiting for Eunice to finish with the man with the turned up cowboy boots. She stood there trying to sort out what had happened, what she might have said or done. “Gladys get on over here! Where is your mind” Eunice asked. Gladys looked up to see that she was the next and only person in line. She realized she had tears running down her face when she got to the window. “Hun, you okay? You need a tissue or something” Eunice looked through the bars reaching through the tray to pat Gladys on the hand. “I’m fine. Just trying to figure out something that’s all” she replied. The woman behind the window quipped “Sugar, it’s a man isn’t it? I can tell. I get off here in an hour, what time do you get off?” Gladys wiped her eyes, blew her nose and squeaked out “I just have to drop off this bag at the store then I’m off.” Eunice zipped up the bag wrote an address on a piece of paper and slid it through the window “hun, this is my address. You come on over to my house. I’ll make up some margaritas and you can tell me all about it. Now go powder your nose, fluff up your hair and put on some lipstick. You’ll be better in no time.”
Gladys took the paper and smiled at her friend “Okay. I’ll stop and get a bucket of chicken and some ice cream too.” She left the bank feeling a little better. Maybe Eunice could tell her what she had done wrong.
2 weeks ago