Category : Stories
Sub Category : Drama
It was the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend 2013, I woke up around 9 a.m. to one of the many notes left on the kitchen table that read: "Good morning honey - I had to run out and take care of some business so just relax and I'll be back soon. Here's a few cigarettes to get you through until I get back. Love, Richie"
The same line of bullshit that went from "I'll be back shortly" to "sorry honey I got tied up" several hours later. On one occasion, he didn't return till the following day and when I called his phone, it went directly to voicemail. Allegedly, his phone died, but I knew he turned it off so he could do his thing in peace, whether that thing was a drug or another woman. For someone who despised deceitful people, truth be told, he was one himself. Where I came from, we referred to those kinds as habitual fucking liars. The afternoon transitioned into the early evening hours, like it always did. This was nothing new for Rich to go on his little excursions so now I was hellbent on going on one myself. It was Friday night and with it being the start of a holiday weekend, the Avonia Tavern across the road was already booming with a full parking lot of jacked up trucks. It was 6:30pm and the evenings were still relatively chilly, so I changed into a pair of jeans and a hoodie, put my hair in a ponytail. Then, I went to my cash stash where I hid my little bit of money in a balled up sock, grabbed $30, stuffed it in my back pocket and out the door I went. I had no idea where he was, when he was coming back and by this time I wasn't the least bit concerned. The Avonia Tavern was a straight up country bar, it was across the street from where we lived, and the only bar in a five mile radius. They hosted karaoke, drawing in crowds from all around. It was a safe place for patrons to go without the burden of law enforcement officers pulling them over. Generally, the cops stayed in the municipalities and on the State Highways. They very seldom made an appearance in these rural areas, unless they were called out for a traffic accident or disturbance. With that being said, you'd be lucky to see one pass by once or twice a month. That's why so many people gathered here and I was familiar with some of the folks who hung out there, Rich's youngest sister worked there as a bartender on the weekends to supplement her income. Natalie was my age, at the time we were both thirty-six. She was a single mother of two young children and worked two jobs just to make their lives a little easier. We became good friends and I had so much respect for her, being the hardworking mother that she was. Natalie and Rich didn't see eye to eye, along with his other relatives. He had stolen from them repeatedly and always promised to transform himself into a better person. They all grew tired of hearing the same old bullshit over and over again. When I reflect back on those dreadful days, I can relate to each of them. The parking lot was full, many of what were jacked up four-wheel drive trucks and the music was booming from inside the building. It was still light outside and before making my way through the entrance there was a man already passed out in the grassy area to the left side of the doorway, laying on the ground with a cowboy hat over his face and a bottle of Budweiser tipped over a few inches away from his sprawled out body. I just chuckled and walked inside. The place was crowded and I made my way up to the bar to order a drink. It was only 6:45pm but it was a holiday weekend and everyone had begun early. The bar was full, people were surrounding the pool tables, the dance floor was occupied by ladies dancing with their country boys to the karaoke music sung by the many participants who were pushing impairment. As I waited to order, here came Natalie from the the back room "hey girl, how are you? Glad he let you finally come over to see me." She said with a big surprising smile on her face.
"Hey sweetie, I'm ok I guess. He didn't exactly have a choice." I replied. Natalie just chuckled and rolled her eyes.
"What happened now? Did he leave you hanging again?" She asked.
"He always does." I answered. "
Well say no more girl, I know exactly what your saying. Why do you think Annie took the kids and left him? He did the same thing to her and she was over it." She said. Annie was his ex-wife who kicked his ass to the curb after. I didn't know much about her until later on.
"Hmmm...that's funny because the story he told me was much different than that." I replied. Cogitating on what I just heard.
"Why doesn't that surprise me." She replied with frustration. "Anyhow, what are you drinking honey?"
"Just give me a bottle of Coors Light." I said, still contemplating about this ex-wife thing.
"Gotcha, I'll be right back." Natalie said and walked down to the other end of the L-shaped bar. Wow, I thought to myself. This whole thing was nothing but a fabricated story, a story I fell for and now I was stuck with this goof. I'm was up shit crick without a paddle, in a canoe that was about to fall apart around me. With a man who was obsessed with me. It really didn't matter at this point, I had nothing to lose..absolutely nothing at all. I reached in my back pocket for my cash to pay for my beer and took a seat on the last stool at end of the bar. "Here you go girl." Natalie returned, setting a frosted bottle of Coors in front of me.
"Thanks hon, how much do I owe you?" I asked, pulling out a twenty dollar bill.
"Your money is no good here." She said. "It's on the house and I'm just glad you finally decided to grace me with your presence, besides that, you paid your dues by putting up with my asshole brother." She said with her cute smile and winked at me.
"No,no! I'm paying you for my drink." I demanded "
"Listen, chill out and enjoy your beer. I'll be finished here in a little while and we'll have a few more together, my mom has the kids tonight so I'm free til tomorrow." She said, then walked away to serve another customer.
"Sounds great! Thank you Nat. You're a doll." I said smiling back as she walked away. The night went on and I hadn't felt so much freedom in a long time. It felt nice to just have a change of scenery and time to myself. I was precluded from any place that didn't involve him and deep down I knew there would be hell to pay for being in a bar without him, I just prayed that he'd stay out all night again. I was now on my fourth beer and feeling it. I glanced at my phone and it was a little after 9 p.m. The place was entertaining with all the intoxicants, I enjoyed hanging out with Nat and her two other friends who joined us. We ended up sitting at a table off to the side in the other opened area where the karaoke was taking place. The four of us ladies were getting a little tipsy and laughing at all the amusement going on around us. The next time I checked the time on my phone it was pushing 11:30pm. Still not one missed call and I was pretty well wasted and lost count of the beers I drank. I knew it was getting to be that time to head back to the scanty little place I needed to lay my head down at night. I was getting ready to walk out the door, giving my friend a hug and as I turned around to leave here comes Rich charging through the door like a bull on steroids , furious and seeing red. 'Ohhh shit...here we go!' Was the last thought that came to my mind before he grabbed me by my left arm and pulled me towards the back of the tavern and into the hallway that led to the restrooms.
"Let go of me asshole your hurting me." I lashed out at him, completely embarrassed by the way he snagged me up like a rag doll. Tears began to stream down my face.
"You fucking bitch! Why did you come over here? I told you to never come over here without me. STOP IT!"
"You stop." I said, my eyes began to burn from my mascara running in and around my eyes.
I SAID STOP CRYING, YOU FUCKING WHORE!!" His voice became unpleasantly loud and fierce, his irritation grew far more intense. Then Natalie ran over an chimmed in.
"What the hell is going on bro, why are you doi--" Rich turned to his sister and shouted
"Mind your own damn business chump, I'm sure you couldn't wait to talk a bunch of bullshit to my girlfriend like your notorious at---"
"At what Richie? Telling the truth because you sure don't!" Natalie's face turned beat red as she gripped tightly onto the neck of an empty MGD bottle, as if she was taking precautions due to his excessive rage.
"Are you ok?" She asked me in a sympathetic voice, grabbing both of my hands with her own.
"Yes, I'll be fine." I replied. Still shaken up and apprehensive.
"Let's go right now!" Rich strongly declared. As his wandering eyes were glancing around each area of the tavern to ensure that nobody was aware of the transpiring conflict.
"Call me if you need anything at all girl, I mean that ok? And you back off her bro because she did nothing wrong, I invited her over here and she was with me the whole ent---"
"Fuck you Natalie! Let's go now!" As he forcefully escorted me out the door by the sleeve of my Penn State hoodie, then finally released my sleeve once we got outside. I stayed back and followed a few feet behind him while making our way back to the apartment. I just wanted to pass out and go to sleep. I had no energy to argue, discuss or hear another word from him that night. He walked through the front door, then I walked in behind him, encountered by an unexpected blow to my face, knocking me clear to the floor.
CHAPTER WILL BE CONTINUED