Tow the Line: Part One
Dating in the modern age sucks!
So much of our lives is available at the push of a button. It's very hard to get dates when a quick Google search reveals your hidden Skeletons. In a flash any prospective mate can see your Wedding photos on Facebook, or a positive review of a Herpes cream you bought on Amazon.
For me, the thing that stands out is; Murder.
If you'd pass me on the street you'd be surprised to learn that I took a life, yep it's true. And I spent my Teens in Jail for it.
From Thirteen to Eighteen "The Mossberg home for Juvenile Offenders" was my home. And while those records are sealed it still says that I was imprisoned for 2nd Degree Murder for five years and released on my 18th Birthday.
After I was released I became kind of a Wanderer. One of the City's unwashed masses. Alternating between living in Shelters and the Streets. While most guys my age were going to College or starting there careers I was begging for change or Day Work behind the Home Depot.
During one particularly bad episode I met a woman who would change my life. Her name was Althea James.
Althea was a volunteer at the soup kitchen I frequented. She told me that a mission she volunteered in has free adult education courses and that I really should apply. I took her advice and a couple years later got my GED.
Finding a steady job is hard, especially with a Record. But a friendship with Althea (and a GED opens up doors). Thanks to her I got a Custodial position at Chambers University. The pay isn't great but I can sit in and audit any classes I want. Heck I probably know more than the actual students now.
It sometimes shocks me that I'm the same age as the Students whose messes I clean. They seem so young to these eyes of mine, eyes that have seen so much in their limited time.
I remember the day Althea told me about the job at Chambers University, she said:
"Not only is the pay good, you might get yourself a college honey."
I was all to quick to point out that that was impossible.
However it was about three months later that I met Audrey Pryce.
I was emptying the trash bins in the Quad when I happened upon a bunch of students sitting beneath an Oak Tree discussing "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". As they bantered about trivial notions a voice called out to me.
"Hey you, trash can guy."
That's when I first caught a glimpse of Audrey Pryce. She was young, possibly 18 or 19, she had short blonde hair that made her look like Tinkerbell from Disney's Peter Pan. She was wearing a purple floral dress and a matching sweater while most of her Peers were in the dirt she was on a green park bench.
"What do you think of the Book?" she asked.
I was shocked, the most conversation I've ever had with a student was "Hey dude can you clean this puke", "Hey pal how's about you buy some Beer" or my favorite "You holdin' Man?" For someone to ask my opinion on anything academic, wow!
"Why ask him, he's a Janitor?" some Deep V wearing Douche asked.
"Well actually Mark Twain wrote the book as a satire of the Romantic works of Sir Walter Scott. He blamed Scott for Romanticising Battle which led to the Civil War. I think there's more to it than that and personally I rather enjoyed "Ivanhoe".
A stunned silence fell over the group and Audrey giggled.
"There we have it, one vote for Sir Walter over Mark Twain."
As the group disbanded I returned to my duties, fishing stinking bags of trash out of Concrete lined bins.
"So he reads Twain and Scott does he?" Audrey asked coming up behind me.
"Yep as well as Welles, Conan Doyle and Verne. There was a lot of free time in the...umm....group home I lived in."
"Group home so you're...?"
"It's ok, you can say it. I'm an Orphan."
"I had a f****y...once. My Dad died when I was Thirteen, never knew my Mom. I was in the home until my 18th birthday and got out when I was emancipated."
"Hey..um when do you get off work?" she asked.
"Usually about 7 or 8 why?"
"A bunch of us are going to this party, you want in?" she asked.
I was like a deer caught in the headlights, I had missed a lot during my five years. "The Kardashians...who, what a Beiber, what about Friday?"
I was going to refuse, but her blue eyes, Cherub like face and modest Clevage caused "yes" to pass by my lips instead.
As I stood outside the J Dorm, the sound of music from a Band I didn't recognise wafted into my ears. I found myself on a Metaphorical stone shore, to my left the lush green jungle and to my right a churning bubbling sea full of unseen dangers.
Against my better Judgement I turned right and headed into the Dorm.
"I shoulda learned how to swim!"