Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Goldilocks and Argentius

Saturday morning, I woke up at about seven to a cloudy August dawn. We had most of the windows open, since it was a pretty humid night – living in the city, I suppose I’ve grown accustomed to ignoring the noises of people going about their nightly business.

I brush my teeth, dress, and walk downstairs, but do a double-take when I get to the couch. There’s a young lady with curly black hair laying on it. She seems to have found the throw blanket and pillow I keep at the end of the couch. On the plus side, she looks comfortable. On the other hand, I’ve never seen her before in my life.

Sometimes yours truly can be fairly verbose, but all I could think to say was, “Woah. Who are you?”

She’s awake before I get to the base of the stairs, furrows her eyebrows together, and looks around my house quickly. “Um. Kim?” She winces, a little. That’s definitely last night’s dress she’s got on.

“Okay, Kim… so, you probably know what I’m going to ask next,” I say. I probably furrow my eyebrows back.

“Believe me, I’m just as confused as you are,” she says. “I don’t even know where this is. I mean, where is this?”

I tell her what intersection we are on, which turns out to be almost fifty blocks from where she lives. I’ve slowly looked around the house – nothing appears out of place. The change jar, and my keys, even, are still on the sideboard. I delete the numerals nine, one, and one, from my phone, without hitting “send.”

At this point my equally confused better half comes down to see what the voices are about. I tell her, “It looks like we have an unexpected guest, dear – and one who did not expect to be staying here any more than we did. M, this is Kim.”

I’ll give her credit for taking this all in stride. M is a pretty down-to-earth-girl. She looks a little surprised, but that’s it. “Oh. Hi, Kim. Do you, ah, need some aspirin? And, I think these are your shoes, they were in the yard.” She hands over a pair of black, strappy heels.

Our very own Goldilocks considers this for a moment, accepts the shoes, declines the aspirin. “Listen, I’m really sorry about all of this. I keep trying, but I can’t remember a bit of how I got here. I was at a bachelorette party… but that was on thirty-eighth. That’s a couple of miles away. Do you two, like, know Paul, or something? I thought maybe I ended up at his house. God, this is why I don’t go out.”

Neither of us is, or knows, Paul. There is a sense of resignation, and, a bit of relief on Kim’s face. Even if Encyclopedia Brown isn’t here to solve the mystery, at least nobody’s in any immediate danger, right? Kim inspects her belongings. I bring her a glass of water. She’s got her ID and wallet, but, no phone. I loan her mine, she makes a couple of quick calls.

She assures whoever’s on the other end of the line that she is safe, that she ended up somehow at some “really nice people’s” house, but that she has no idea where or how.

“Kim, I don’t mean to, I guess, rush you, but, we are off to breakfast. Can I call you a cab? Do you have everything? I mean, except for your phone, I guess.”

She agrees, and gathers her things. At first, I thought she was younger, but now I think she’s at least a couple of years older than my twenty-nine. She will have a strange story to tell when she gets home, I suppose. I call the cab.

Wherever you are, Goldlocks – I mean, Kim – take care of yourself, okay?