Last time: Tracy succeeded in alienating all of her friends and her boss with a well-timed insult she didn’t even mean to give.
As Simple As A Sorry?
The weather was still muggy in that oppressively New York City way, and I had abandoned my purse in the office, hoping that I would luck out and some other person in my building would be able to let me inside. As luck would have it – or not – I ended up sitting on my stoop for a solid two hours before Mrs. Gereon from three floors down showed up and got me into the hallway. It was ample time to wallow and feel sorry for myself.
With two bolted doors between our hallways and the way out, I felt pretty comfortable stashing a key to my actual door under a loose piece of floorboard in the hallway, and I thanked God I had thought to do so as I let myself into my apartment.
“Mom,” I asked with a shaking voice, “I don’t know what to do now. Tell me what to do.”
“I can’t tell you what to do, Tracy,” she said with a sigh. “You have to figure this kind of thing out on your own.”
“I don’t know how to fix it.” I admitted this quietly, my fingers nervously picking at the blanket underneath me. “Everyone’s mad. I have no job. I think I even managed to break up with a boy I had hardly started to date.”
“Did you apologize?”
“I tried. I told them they hadn’t understood – that I didn’t mean it like that.”
She was quiet on the other end of the phone. When she finally did speak, it wasn’t to agree with me – that they hadn’t listened, and I had been right.
“That’s not apologizing, honey.”
Oh. I thought back to what I had said in the bar, how I had explained how no one understood and that they were confusing my words. I didn’t think about the way that my words actually sounded in the moment.
My voice was hesitant with my next question. “Do you think, if I went back and apologized…” I let the words peter out, not wanting to voice the hope that they would forgive my idiocy.
“I think it’s worth a shot, don’t you?” She asked with a laugh. Part of me wanted to be having this conversation sitting in our kitchen, in my childhood home, far away from New York and all the drama of the last few days. It would have been easier. I wouldn’t have had to face any of it, and I could just go upstairs, close my bedroom door and wake up tomorrow to a new day.
“Yeah, I guess so,” I admitted. “I should let you go, Mom. Thanks.”
“Let me know how it works out, honey. Maybe a few more months working at the bar will be good for you. You can always save some money that way. Have some fun with friends. You don’t have to go right into a corporate job, you know?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
We hung up after a quick goodbye, and I tossed the phone across the covers. I only had it because it had been shoved in the pocket of my apron when I rushed out of the bar earlier.
It was late. The bar was closed, and at this point, the whole staff was probably gone. But it wouldn’t hurt to try, right?
I launched myself off the bed, snatched the phone, and shoved my feet into my flip flops on my way to the door. Only at the last moment did I palm the spare key and drop it in my pocket. It wouldn’t be good to get locked out twice in one night, right?
I tried not to break into a run, to look even more ridiculous than I already felt, as I hurried towards the bar.
From the corner, I could see that the lights in the main room were turned down but there was a subtle glow on the sidewalk that told me someone was still there. The lights over the bar were still on, and Nell stood at the register, double counting everything while Davis and Claire sat on stools behind her.
I pulled the sleeves of my ratty shirt down over my hands and swallowed my heart, trying to force it back into my chest and out of my throat as I pushed through the door to the chime of the bell. It was now or never.
Cover art for Headed towards the Right Decisions was created by Maritza Lugo.