Series I: Stand Off – Chapter 7: The Letter that Begins with Red.

Thomas arrived to Kristen’s apartment close to 1 am. He approached the door with an elegant poise close to the resemblance of an alley cat on its way home. Before he grabbed the front door knob, he stopped to think if the door had locked behind him as he left earlier. With a fierce grab of the knob, and a twist to go with it, he was soon relieved to find that the door was unlocked. Upon entering the Victorian, he noticed that the lights were off and darkness consumed the entirety of the home; except for the lamp on the inn table next to the couch, it was on. On that couch’s cushion was a pair of sweatpants folded articulately in the fashion of a square, and right next to it was a blanket folded in the same manner, and a pillow rested against the arm rest. He approached the couch and sat next to the folded sweatpants, smelling like cigarettes as he swiped his left hand through his hair. The stench reminded him too well of the reasons why he and Kristen decided to move to San Francisco, before they separated. It was because of George. A man that smoked a lot, about the only thing he considered as a stupid habit among greater decisions. He was smart and as a typical aspiring-lawyer, he always had his nose deep into books about law. Thomas met George before he met Kristen and for that Thomas was glad to have met George; however, if only Thomas knew at the time.

“I got the job!” Kristen ran into the small apartment with her bags and pocketbook still hoisted over her shoulder. The door didn’t even close by the time she was up the steps talking to Thomas who was lying in bed, half asleep.

“Hhmm . . . what, no way!” Thomas said as he was coming to. He rubbed his eyes, “that’s great babe; see, I told you that you would!” He slid off the bed and grabbed his sweatpants that were on the floor. As he slid them on and up to his waist, Kristen dropped her bags and hugged him.

“Bae,” Kristen said, “this means we can move to Fresco.” She retracted from him with her hands coming up and onto his cheeks. He stood there gently touching them.

“Fresco?” Thomas asked, “where’s that?” he brought her hands down where she grabbed him at the waist, just above the red “R” imprinted near the pocket of his sweatpants.

“What do you mean where is that,” Kristen smiled, “San Francisco.” She moved toward him with a kiss.

“Ahhh,” Thomas’s eyes widened, “Yeshh,” he said as she pecked him on the lips, “I remember now – So you’ll be working with George?” he asked her as she took her high heels and then her blazer off.

“I don’t know yet – could you go in there and pass me a hanger – he called me right after the interview and congratulated me.” She was holding her hand out to Thomas as he moved around the bed to open the closet for a hanger and when he grabbed it, he leaned over the bed to give it to her.  “I just know – thanks bae – that I am going to be working for GCConsulting and that my training and first day starts in two months, which gives us time to start looking for places and to get settled in,” the blazer was on the hanger and she handed it back to him.

“Ahhh, ok well, I think that’s great!” Thomas said as he hung the blazer back up in the closet, “But-a, What about uh, what about me . . . I mean I can find a job, I just don’t know if I’m ready to leave here.” He stared at the purple comforter on the bed, then looked up at Kristen.

“Don’t worry about that, you will find something; besides, there are better opportunities in a city like Fresco than here.” Kristen pushed her hair off the back of her neck and jutted her chin forward, coursing her fingers through the strands to straighten them out. “I can’t wait to show you were I grew up, by the SFU; ugh, so beautiful. We can look at Victorian Houses near the University District . . .” Her voice trailed off as Thomas stopped listening. His mind was on another matter; a matter he tried to deal with before she arrived home for her interview. He grabbed his arm where the bicep meets the forearm and pressed down.

“you’re right,” he said, “I’ll find something.”

Kristen was standing with her shirt off, but bra on, nodding, “I know you want to write bae, but you need to worry about how you’re going to take care of yourself.” She reached behind her to remove the bra.

“Yeah,” he said looking down.

“I’m serious; you’ll be 26 before you know it and then what?” Kristen shrugged her shoulders with her bra in her hand. “You need health insurance Tommie,” she said.

 

Thomas looked out through the window of the Victorian that was next to the front door. He stared at the moon and a daunting regret settled in; why he ever spoke into the receiver of his phone yesterday morning. He should have just hung up as soon as he heard Kristen’s voice and blocked that number too.

He then looked down at his pants leg and decided in that moment to change out of his jeans. After removing them from against his legs, he felt the relief of the dried vomit pull away from his shin and he sighed. He held the sweatpants out in front of him for them to unfold and as they did, he noticed in the right corner above the pocket was a red “R.”

He just wanted to change out of his jeans and lie down on the couch, forget everything that transpired between him and Kristen and make sure that she was OK in the morning. If it was anything else that she told him in the car earlier this night, he would have left after his cigarette, catching the next bus back to San Jose. He slipped into those old sweatpants and rolled into the couch, crashing his head upon the pillow almost instantaneously falling sleep.

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