Setting: The eve of Tyrone’s first day out.
She gave him a short course in meal practicality and economics. “We don’t have time or energy to take a lot of time on this tonight. But these things should hold you a few days.” She said as she placed ingredients in the upper cart for spaghetti, a few steaks, side dishes, and bread along with breakfast foods. A few minutes later they were standing in line. “This is the thing that will try your patience the most.” She confided while looking up at him.
“I think the entire process will require a lot of patience. I have never had to shop for such things in my life!” he exclaimed before locking his jaw tight while furrowing his eyebrows.
“You’ll get used to it. Admittedly, this is the worse time of the day to come here. Early morning is better. Next time you will have made a list and once you get more familiar with the store, you will be able to navigate to the parts of the store you need more capably.” She began to place the numerous items on the conveyor belt as they moved toward the cashier.
“And I don’t know who is going to cook that food you have in that cart!” He complained as he helped her to empty the cart.
“Well if I have time I will show you how.” She surprised herself when those words fell from her lips. She ignored his shocked expression as she took the money from him to pay the cashier before adding the bagged items back to the cart.
“Wow! I can’t believe you have that kind of time.” Tyrone finally replied as they moved toward the exit doors of the store.
“I really don’t. I will be making time.” She grumbled as they walked out into the night, already regretting her lack of restraint. What was I thinking volunteering for such things? Then she said aloud, “Besides, what we picked up is not all that difficult. I’m not exactly a great cook myself. But you will soon find Tyrone that when forced to, you will learn how to make do.”
Make do? Tyrone frowned at the expression. “I have never heard such an expression as I have never had to make do in my entire life.”
“Well that’s a given.” Farryn said as she hit the key fob and opened the trunk of the car. “But you will become very familiar with the expression. Trust me on that. And I suggest you learn as quickly as you can or you my friend will be homeless. You no longer have your dad’s money to fall back on any more Tyrone. Now you will be living on purely the numbers on that check that you will receive bi-weekly. You’re about to learn how the majority of people live every day. The cart corral is over there,” she instructed, just before she slid into the car.
After seeing that Farryn had gotten behind the steering wheel, he slid into passenger side of the car. Before she could shift gears, he placed his hand on hers. “Wait, let me tell you something.”
She looked at him, waiting as he swallowed a couple of times as if he trying to find the words to convey.
He finally looked over at her and spoke in a curiously rough tone, “I haven’t lived my old life in quite a while. I know I have showed a lot of shock and stress today. But, it’s just because the entire time I was in jail I dreamed of resuming my old life. Coming out of jail and on my first day learning that nothing of my old life is left is —well it’s going to be an adjustment. I guess it was foolish of me to think that would be possible. Still, while it will be hard, the one thing that I know deep down inside is that I can do this, no matter what anyone else thinks.”
Farryn digested what he said and decided not to respond while she put the car in reverse gear and drove back to his apartment. She was surprised at the conviction of his words. They left her speechless and she couldn’t help but feel a bit of admiration for him, the last thing she ever thought would be possible.
After she parked, they each grabbed the bags and walked to his apartment. With the door open they were able to use the porch light to plug up one of the lamps and after screwing in a light bulb, his front area was filled with light. He then reached to take the other bags from Farryn’s hands. “Thanks for your help today, Farryn. You went way beyond what you had to and I appreciate it. I will be sure to let my father know, so you can be compensated.”
“That’s not at all necessary. Besides, I am already very well compensated for my job. At the present, I actually make more than you do.” She chuckled and then laughed harder at the shock resonating across his face.
“Wow! What a way to crush a man’s ego Farryn! Do you have any mercy at all?”
“Oh yeah, that’s why I’m here helping you instead of cozy in my bed at home.” She grabbed the bags of food and walked into his kitchen and began to put away his groceries. She stood in the door of his refrigerator shaking her head.
“What? What’s wrong?” He asked as he walked in the kitchen to stand beside her.
“What we just picked up doesn’t make a dent. That’s another thing about living like the rest of us Mr. Wheeler. You will soon see how much money goes on such little food.” She then pivoted away from him and walked toward the front room and grabbed the bathroom things and headed there.
By the time he joined her, she had placed most of the plastic rings on the shower curtain. “Later, you will definitely want to replace this shower curtain set. It was inexpensive and it looks it.” She handed him the other corner of the curtain and they both attached it to the shower rod. By the time she lay down the rugs and placed a complimentary soap dispenser and matching soap dish on the sink counter, she had to admit it didn’t look too bad.
She turned and looked at Tyrone and saw him actually smile. “I like it!” he said turning to her, surprised at the transformation such a few things could make as well as how proud he felt at helping in the process.
“Good, I’m glad to see your day is going to end well.” It made her feel good herself to know she was leaving him in a much better state of mind than earlier that evening. She left the small room to return to the front of the apartment where she reached for her purse to get her cell phone out and called a taxi.
Tyrone walked into the room a few minutes later. Hearing her give the address to the dispatcher, he frowned. “I could have taken you home Farryn. Or are you afraid of letting an ex-con know where you live?”
Farryn squinted her eyes as they shot daggers at him. “Really Tyrone? After everything we’ve just done, you want to come at me with that? You need to get your feelings in check. Don’t project your insecurities onto me!” She picked up her purse and walked toward the door. Then turned back to face him, “I am your go-to person with regard to your job and your budget choices, but I do not have time to hold your hand through your emotional issues. I suggest you contact a psychiatrist for that!” Then she left.
He’d messed up and he knew it. He turned and hit his fist into the wall behind him, then looked down at it as he shook out the pain emanating from his knuckles. He turned and walked into the kitchen and ran his hand under cold water. She was right, he did need a psychiatrist and tomorrow he intended to make an appointment with the person he’d been referred. He leaned over the counter and buried his face in his hands as he felt the tears burning his eyes. He hated to admit it, but Farryn had been right, he was still very much a mess.