NaNoPrep 2017 Day 6: 5 Dollars Worth

by voh on October 16th, 2017

Andrew sat down on the bench and sighed. The evening was cool but not cold, the stars in the sky invisible due to the light pollution caused by the buildings around the park. A shame, he thought, he would've enjoyed staring at the stars for a bit.

Not a good night, he thought solemnly. He sighed again and looked at his phone. No missed calls, no messages, nothing.

She wasn't going to contact him today.

And he really couldn't blame her. He'd been way out of line, getting angry about something he knew wasn't something to get angry about, but something had just bothered him about it. Something had made him break into yelling at her and blaming her for all kinds of unrelated shit.

Fucking idiot.

That's what she'd called him as he left, and now, after a walk and this sit-down, he actually agreed with her.

"Spare some change?" a voice said beside him.

An old man, wearing a dirty old coat, was standing next to him, holding out a fingerless-gloved hand. He had a grimy, slightly wet duffel bag with him.

"Uhm, yeah, give me a second..." he mumbled as he wrangled his wallet from his pocket.

He grabbed a 5 dollar bill and gave it to the man.

"Thanks, son. Bless you," the old man said with a smile.
"Yeah..." Andrew said, trailing off.

The man looked at Andrew intently and squinted a bit.

"You okay, son?"
"Oh, uh, yeah. Well, no. Had a fight with my girlfriend just now."
"Ah, yes, women troubles. I know those," he said as he sat down next to Andrew.

Andrew was a little startled and considered getting up and leaving, but the man spoke before he could make a decision.

"So, son, were you right in this fight?"
"Uh, no, actually, I don't think I was."
"Good! Wouldn't've mattered anyway, being right in a fight doesn't matter at all."
"What do you mean?"
"I've had my fair share of fights with women I was with. Whether I was right or wrong was never the problem. The problem was always whether or not I was working towards a solution or not. Working towards getting past the fight. Understanding why the fight happened and what to do to reconcile."

Andrew thought about it for a bit and nodded.

"That's a fair point, I guess."

The old man laughed loudly. A booming yet slightly raspy laugh.

"A fair point indeed!" he said during laughs, "But the real question is -- what are you gonna do about it?"
"Well, I thought I'd wait until tomorrow, let her cool off, let myself cool off, then apologize."
"Alright, not the worst idea. But let me ask you, is she the type to avoid conflict or steer into it?"
"Well, I'd say she usually steers into it?"
"Okay. So do you think she'd rather let this simmer in silence or confront it when it's still hot?"

Andrew stared at the old man.

"Man, you're really good at this. I think I'm going to call her."
"I know I am, and you should. Have a good evening," the man said as he got up.

The man started walking away whistling. Andrew thought for a second and stood up.

"Why'd you help me?"
"Figured 5 bucks earned you a listenin' ear, friend," the man said without stopping or looking back.

Andrew smiled and grabbed his phone.