They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.
When Saturday evening arrives, Despina goes into town with Paul Peter, who is willing to share the room he plans to rent at The Bits O’ Rest before heading over to Ye Olde Watering Hole. Wise to the shortfalls of the motel, Despina, who wishes for water, coaxes a pitcherful from the proprietor's wife, which she downs before the ice melts.
Walking to the sheriff's office, she grumpily thinks, And just why was I so set on putting in another night at the Seldom Rest? as she is again reduced to invading Tony's domain to use the facilities. She sponges off in the sink, then walks back to the motel and goes to bed. Stretching out on a real mattress is a luxury she has never fully appreciated before. Since she doesn't intend to wait up for Paul Peter, she leaves the chain off the door.
It seems as if no time at all has passed before the sheriff knocks at the door, half carrying a barely ambulatory Paul Peter. Embarrassed to be seen in her skimpy nightie, Despina drags the sheet off the bed when she goes to open the door.
"That bed's his," she points, clutching the sheet to her chest with her other hand.
I didn't consider what it would look like if someone BROUGHT Paul Peter home, instead of him stumbling in under his own power…
She unlaces his shoes and flips them onto the floor as the sheriff tips him into the bed she has rolled down for him.
"This wouldn't be so bad if it just had a flusher," she babbles as she works.
"I only came into town because I'm meeting Alice at 7 a.m. at the library to do some more research on her computer before the day heats up. Then we're going to church, after which I'll ride home with Jacques. Paul Peter said that maybe without me along coming in, nobody will water down his gas this week. I arranged it with Alice using your cell phone. I know that isn't an emergency…"
A hearty laugh greets this confession. "I'm glad you've made a friend. She's a nice lady."
Paul Peter began to snore loud enough to shake the rafters. "Help me roll him over."
As they reposition him, the sheriff grows bold. "I get off work at 6. What time are you planning to go eat breakfast? I usually stop in at Ellie's Café before I go home for the day."
Despina hesitates. "I, uh, I hadn't planned to eat breakfast."
"Paul Peter seems to think all this ride sharing and not eating is financial. I know you haven't hit payday yet."
"Paul Peter already offered me a payday loan."
"So he said . He also said you turned him down flat."
"So I did. You saw the stunt he pulled the night we took Tex home. Would YOU like to owe him money?"
"Yet you'll stay in a motel room he paid for."
"Knowing that he'll be too comatose to be a problem, and that I'll be long gone before he arises."
"Will you allow me to take you to breakfast?"
"I'd be delighted. You're good company. May I consider it a payday loan?"
"Not without hurting my manly pride."
"Oh, I didn't think of that. Okay, erase that remark. I don't want to appear to be a sponge."
But, when the appointed hour arrives, the sheriff is off sheriffing, which Despina discovers accidentally while using the facilities in his office. She goes hungry until the social hour snacks at church. She can't really eat her fill there, but congenial company helps fill her stomach's void.
Tex's wife Nancy invites Despina to a barn dance, which she is careful to explain will be attended by all the other teachers, and nearly everyone in the county. It is THE social event of the summer.
All in all, Despina puts in an enjoyable, thoroughly uneventful day, her first since leaving Iowa.
Last updated 1/3/16 Standardized top links; 12/25/15 added second space after end punctuation; switched ... to …; and -- to ∼; 2/21/10 added just. 1/31/10. Added Café (Where’sMeKilt) 10/15/04 -- 6/6/02.
Word Count: 692
Monday, March 11th, 2002 11:25 pm (pandemo)
Revision of Saturday, December 8th, 2001 9:07 pm (pandemo) (removed)