Once, I was sitting on my front step, and Monique was grilling a few links and drinking rum and cokes. She offered me some, and at length another neighbor came by. She seemed to know Monique, and not just as a neighbor, but maybe from some other pastime I wasn't aware of. I think her name was Tammy. Our first conversation is both memorable and vague, at the same time. I remember this instance, but I become quite confused when I try to work out the facts. For some reason I remember her name being unique and yet a familiar word. Yet, when I really think about it, I am certain her name was Tammy—Eureka! In writing this story, I have just this instant remembered her name. And I've been spending days trying to recall it, as I was sure I didn't quite have it right. Her name was Taffy. What a relief.
Continuing onward, she seemed somewhat older. She would mention how she was getting old so fast, with so many regrets. There seemed to be one that consumed her, but she never spoke of it. Often, you could see her eyes drift off into that regret with her thoughts. But she was rather paradoxical. She looked older than she was, but then she seemed much younger than she looked. You really couldn't put your finger on which was right.
She was 50, I believe. She did tell me once. Her hair was a beautiful dark brown color, but it was always wild, loose, and unkept. She spoke with a small, timid voice, and she seemed like a sad, tortured, childlike character, trapped inside this aged and used up shell. Miserable and wishing to scare away her memories and her past, she was always on some pill or drink, resulting in a loopy little lady, desperate for something beautiful or happy. She loved friendship, laughter, anything special.
One day, in the very early evening, I invited a crew of friends we had, to come over for a little party I was hosting. I remember the evening well. The sky had become green and unusual for this region. We were certain that a storm of cosmic proportions was on its way, but it never did come.
I had one rule. Everyone brought their own alcohol, and no one touched my private stash of vodka. It was a highly regulated stash. It lasted me a long time, and I didn't want the whole thing gone before my eyes. I couldn't afford to replace it that often.
Though not really invited, Taffy stopped by. I didn't turn her away, I had no reason to. I actually really liked her. But she did ask if she could have a drink or two. I made an exception. At the time, I didn't know that she was a pill popper. If I did, I wouldn't have acquiesced. I only gave her two drinks, and very quickly, she became not just intoxicated, but very loopy, faint, and not even aware of her faculties, let alone in control of them.
Daniel remembers this next part as if he was there, but he wasn't. It is only because I told the story as soon as I returned, and we've recalled the situation many times since.
When it seemed that Taffy was on the verge of passing out, my friend Chloe and I decided to take her home.
There was a much younger man, by comparison, who looked like a wild Native American sort, who had apparently moved in where Jared and Krystal had formerly lived. He was maybe 30-35 years old. It took some time before I realized that Taffy lived with him there. I never did know what their relationship was. Were they related, together, just roommates? I had no idea, though I was quite curious.
For some reason, they would use their back door as a front door, so Chloe and I walked Taffy around to the back of the building and knocked on the door. The tall man answered and was exceptionally rude to us. As we helped her to a kitchen chair, I explained that she was a little intoxicated and we were bringing her home. He was quite angry and yelled at Taffy. "It's 5:00, and you're already stupid! What the hell is wrong with you, Woman?!"
Chloe and I exchanged a glance. We were torn between amusement at what was said, and pity for the lady. As we headed back towards the door, he yelled at us. "What are you two still doing here? Get the hell out of here!"
I had a habit of saying things that I shouldn't from time to time. This was one of those times. I turned and yelled back, "I'm sorry I brought her home, sir. Next time I'll just leave her on the floor!" I slammed the door behind me, and he instantly became an amusing anecdote at the party.