How Soon is Now? Part IV

If you have been following our progressive story, conceived and begun by Jeff Jacobson.
Read part one here.
Read part two, by APN, here.)
Part three, Lost in Abandon.
and now, part four: How Soon is Now?


“I am the son, and the heir….
of a shyness that is criminally vulgar….”

Abe sat at the bar and listened absent-mindedly to the lyrics Morrissey was singing in the background. This was a pretty nice tavern and the wait staff seemed to brighten when they encountered him; he remembered quite clearly a time such was not the case: the voices would return every so often to remind him, but through great counseling sessions, good meds and a “chance” encounter with someone special, the voices had all but abated, and he was thankful for it.

“I am the son and heir….
of nothing in particular…”

He took a long swallow of his drink, found the bottom of the glass and thought about settling his tab. “Instead,” he thought as he swished the glass around, hoping the ice would capture any remaining liquid from the sides of his rocks glass, “I think I’ll have another drink…” No sooner had the thought crossed his mind, another drink had been placed in front of him on a new cocktail napkin, even before his empty had been placed back down onto the dark mahogany bar.

“That, my good fellow, is precisely why I come here!” The bartender acknowledged Abe’s comment with a wry smile and a nod of his head while he picked up a damp bar mop and wiped away the sweat rings from the glass Abe had been nursing for the past hour.

“Where is she?” he wondered aloud. Abe’s attention turned back to the Smiths, whose song was beginning to crescendo…

“You shut your mouth, how can you say
I go about things the wrong way?”

These words rang hollow yet familiar as he reflected on a couple distinct episodes in his life over the past three years….he remembered leaving his apartment on the night he had returned from a dreadful outing in Philadelphia. After showering and making yet another “reinvent his life decision,” he remembered running down the stairs of the tiny brownstone he shared with his then-former girlfriend and literally plowing into a woman who had been hurrying home after volunteering at the nearby soup kitchen. He had his head down and looked up at the last second, putting his hands out to help prevent the “accident” from happening, but it had been too late – she fell, flatly and gracelessly onto the sidewalk directly in front of him.

“I am so sorry!” he exclaimed, “Let me help you up!” he stated as he reached his hand down to further assist her. She reached back and they made eye contact. Although they had never seen each other before, there was something unmistakably familiar and warm about him, she thought to herself as he simultaneously had the same thought about her.

“No problem, I wasn’t paying attention!” she gladly took his hand and accepted his offer to help her up. Although under normal circumstances she would have been mortified over her clumsiness, she felt the urgent need to stay in his company; his very presence which had been unnerving to most earlier that very same day seemed to have an opposite reaction in this particular instance.

“You were in a hurry…were you late for a date?” She shuddered at her brashness and the exceedingly flirtatious and provocative question. This came from her lips before she had a moment to (a) think about what she was saying, and (b) re-think about what she was saying before she said it. She cursed her impulsiveness, but awaited his reply.

“No,” he recalled saying…”I am on my way to becoming a noun!” Suddenly the raging headache that had plagued him moments before was long-forgotten. They both erupted into laughter over the comedic situation they found themselves in, at their awkward question-and-answer period, and the very fact that they had found themselves drawn to each other in a most alarming way.

He smiled at the memory as the Smiths’ song served to help him reenter the present moment…

“I am human and I need to be loved
Just like everybody else does…”

Those very lyrics reminded him what his initial decision to “become a noun” meant: At the precise moment he had opted to revamp his life for the second time, everything had changed: No sooner had he left the apartment on the night of his birthday, April 21, 1983, and ran down the steps, Abe met someone who was going to be instrumental in changing his destiny – someone named “Penny.”

“Penny’s from heaven,” Abe thought fondly as he emptied his second glass and prepared to settle up with the bartender. “An angel sent from God…” He also recalled that that fateful night was the first time he had given the slightest thought to anything even remotely spiritual.

It was only then that he realized she had been an answer to a prayer he hadn’t even said yet…

No comments: