Roger told Jeff: Call me whenever you’re down or lonely.
He visited Jeff while I was at work. He helped Jeff get to medical appointments. Jeff told me that Roger had said that Jeff was being unfair to me by not trying harder.
He did try harder. Did he try hard enough? Not hard enough for me. I was critical. Often.
Probably just as often as I was lenient. If he wanted a new diecast, I’d say, “Yes.” When he wanted more cable channels because he was getting more bored, I said, “Yes.” As time went on, I said, “Yes” a lot more. I’d do anything to help him be a little happier. Money was tight, but, somehow that came to matter less and less.
That had a lot to do with another day when I’d said, “No.” It was mostly out of anger and somewhat to do with how I was raised. One weekend afternoon, we were driving home from a trip to Jackson. Jeff had an ex-coworker friend who lived nearby, so he thought it would be nice to stop and see him.
Jeff was driving and I had no clue where we were, so I wasn’t paying that much attention. Until the police car sped up behind us, siren blaring. I think we both thought they were just trying to get by, but when we pulled off to the side, the police car pulled off behind us, too.
Suddenly, Jeff appeared panicked. He grabbed his wallet, took out his license and thrust it into my purse. “Don’t tell them it’s in there,” he pleaded.
“What?” I asked. “Shhh. I’ll tell you later,” he answered without looking at me. When asked for his license, Jeff took out his wallet, opened it, and remarked, “Hmm, I guess I don’t have it on me.” The officer asked for his personal information and went back to his car. “What the hell, Jeff?” came out of my mouth, probably not as quietly as he would have liked. “If he asks tell him we work together… and shhh.” he repeated, still not looking at me.
I was looking at him, though, and he was sweating bullets. The next thing I knew, the officer was back on Jeff’s side and another policeman was standing on my side. The one on my side asked me to get out of the vehicle. “Me?” I asked, stunned. “You want ME to get out?”
The answer from the officer was, “Yes, and I’ll need to see your license, too.” So, I grabbed my wallet, leaving the purse on the floor between our seats, where it had been. I handed over my license and was told to stay there and to remain outside the car.
By this time, Jeff was out, too. He and the other guy were having a conversation at the back. When the second officer joined them, they all seemed to get a bit more animated.
After a few minutes, my officer came back to me, and asked me how I knew Jeff. Because I was now terrified, I decided to sort of go with Jeff’s request “We work for the same company,” I told him, adding, “… and…we’re .… friends… too.” Just in case Jeff might have mentioned that…
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