“Doug speaking,” he stated into the phone.
“Hi, this is Thad from Sawtooth Builders, you applied for the dry wall installer position,” explained the deep voice on the other end of the phone.
Doug’s heart dropped, he had hoped it would already be Russ calling. He knew it was too soon, but, you can’t blame a guy for hoping.
“Hi, thanks for calling me. Yes, I remember applying for the position,” he kindly responded.
“Are you still interested in the job,” Thad inquired.
“Yes, I am still interested,” Doug honestly shared.
“Great! Are you open to interview tomorrow at 11:00am,” asked Thad.
“Yes, tomorrow at 11:00am will work good for me,” he tried to respond with enthusiasm. This was forward movement, it wasn’t his dream job, but at least it might get him out of his car and back into a warm, dry place to live.
Thad gave him the address and concluded the call by saying he looked forward to meeting him tomorrow.
“Wow, the day was really shaping up sweetly. First the crazy magazine, his brother’s surprise lunch invitation, the possible woodworking position, and now an interview,” Doug replayed the surprising day, wanting to stand up and do a little jig. Instead he squelched down his excitement and decided to go for a walk before the day slipped by. He was not looking forward to sleeping again in the back of his Subaru.
Looking at the shiny cover of the magazine he had dropped on the bench to answer the phone, he smiled a quiet, “Thank you,” then slid it back into his back pack. Tonight before he went to sleep, he would open it up again, just to see if all the words were still there.
Wrapped in his good spirits he walked along the paved path that hugged the river. Bikers buzzed past, while other walkers smiled a hello as they moseyed past. He had forgotten how pretty this city was, it truly was a great place to live. His parents had moved the family here when his dad got the job as the new curator for the local Art Museum. That was one thing he was super grateful for, both his parents worked in careers that they loved and were passionate about. His dad had always been into art and his mother had turned her love for helping others into a very successful therapist practice. She used art strongly in her practice, for it was a great healing tool, she always told them.
His thoughts zoomed all over the place. The magazine really had him thinking deeply, it was nice how it distracted him from the worry and shame he often found himself feeling. He replayed the message which struck him the most, “What if everything was really working out for him, not against him.”
Gazing down the path, he was startled to see the young woman from the library resting on the hillside with her daughter lying on a blanket under the tree. It looked like little Abby was taking a nap. He stopped to watch them both for a minute, he was far enough away that he hoped she did not see him staring. “Could he go over, what would he say, he didn’t want to wake the little girl, but, what if he never saw them again, what if they needed help. Oh this was crazy, he was in no position to help them. Heck, he didn’t know them at all. Maybe she looked innocent and sweet, but, was really a drug addict with a sordid history, or…” his thoughts trailed off when he saw her staring back at him.
The book in her hand, rested in her lap. She had felt someone staring at her. Glenna recognized the man, he had been in the library that morning. He had stared at her then too. She grew uncomfortable, wondering if she should wake Abby and hurry back to the shelter. Reminding herself to breathe, she looked around, they were in the middle of a park, surrounded by many others, there was nothing he could do to them that people would not see.
Doug realized he probably looked like a stalker. “What should he do,” he shyly questioned himself. He didn’t want to scare or alarm her. He was totally harmless. “Damn,” he felt so stupid. “He could just walk away, but, that might make him look even more sketchy.”
Finally he rallied the courage and walked toward her. Once he got close enough he said, “Hi, my name is Doug. I saw you and your daughter in the library today. I’m sorry to interrupt your quiet time, I just wanted you to know that I enjoy how you and your daughter seem so close. I seem to keep running into you, so I thought I would say hello and let you know I’m not stalking you, it’s all coincidence.”
Glenna was nervous, she personally knew that someone might seem nice and good, but, end up harmful and full of unexpected rage. “Hi, yes, we do seem to be running into each other,” she responded, purposefully not giving her name. “Thank you for the compliment, I really enjoy sharing time with my daughter, she is a very busy and curious soul.”
“Well, I’ll leave you alone, I don’t want to wake her. Have a wonderful rest of your day. Sorry, to have interrupted,” Doug presented as he turned to go back to the path. He could sense that she really was uncomfortable with his presence and it was obvious that she did not share her name.
“Thank you, you have a good day too,” responded Glenna, breathing a sigh of relieve that he was going away. He seemed nice enough, but, she didn’t trust her judgement.
When he got to the path, he headed back towards his car that was parked at the library. He wondered if he should go and look for more jobs, or research the company he was interviewing with tomorrow. The latter idea was probably a very wise thing to do, he didn’t want to work for another workaholic who didn’t take care for his employees. Plus, he should probably call his physical therapist and ask about anything he could do to prepare his body for physical labor again. During the last visit he had been given the green light to go back to work. However, he was told to ease into it and make sure that he continued to stretch and do his exercises everyday. Thankfully the gym membership helped him to stay true to this part of his life.
Sitting back down behind a computer at the library, he found himself sorting through the days happenings. He was still plagued by curiosity with regard to the young woman. “Why could he not shake her? Yes, she was attractive, however, lots of girls were attractive. Was it because he thought she was homeless? Well, that part did intrigue him. There was just something about her, the way she carried herself, her interactions with her daughter, she seemed different somehow.”
Until he had become homeless he had never thought about others who were homeless. Like most of his friends, he thought it was mainly men who were homeless, or crazy people, or dirty unkept people. Boy, had he been wrong. He was learning that all kinds of people become homeless, that it strikes people for different reasons. Again, he had just accepted what society and culture told him. “Yep, the magazine was right, everyone had their story, and no one chose to be homeless” he quietly conceded.
Logging onto the unemployment site, he clicked to go directly into the job seekers section. Intently he scrolled through to see if any new postings were there that sounded interesting. Nothing. He typed in the google search, “Sawtooth Builders,” he wanted to see if they had any reviews, what kinds of projects did they work on, maybe there would even be a picture of Thad.
Engrossed in his research, he had not heard Glenna come up to his table.
“I’m sorry that I was kind of rude when you spoke to me earlier,” she quietly presented to his focused head.
Stunned, Doug looked up into the intensely blue eyes of the young woman who seemed to keep showing up everywhere he went.
“Oh, that’s okay, I don’t blame you, a strange man saying hello to you in a park, I get it, could be unsafe,” he stammered in bashfulness.
To be continued… 33