[Continued from "Prague, Israel (Part 2)."]

Israel and I both worked and lived together.  Israel and I both worked days, and I also had some shifts at night.  I was a shitty waitress and I knew it.  I didn’t like having to be really nice in hopes of a tip with only minimum wage guaranteed when I made more than minimum wage when I worked at night as a hostess.  The good waiting shifts were taken by people who were actually good at waiting on people.

Around the same time I began going to school in earnest.  Junior college.  Pasadena City College.  I had graduated from high school a year early, but then had taken a bit of time to realize that I did want to go to college.  That I mostly worked nights was convenient not only because I made more money at night, but also because I could attend classes during the days.

School during the day and working both days and nights meant I did a lot of coming and going from my apartment, sometimes at “odd” hours.  For the most part this didn’t bother or have any effect at all on my neighbors.  One neighbor, however, noticed.  We’d often run into each other in the lobby of the building, or in the back yard where he smoked and I took my puppy, or in the front yard.  When he saw me in the front yard it was usually because I was on my way to my car to go to school.

Because I was on my way to school I was usually in a hurry.  The neighbor was not in a hurry at all; he didn’t seem to do much more than hang out in or near our apartment building.  So he walked me to my car on a number of occasions, and attempted to engage me in conversation.  I had been working at a bar for a while and had begun to see the lame signs that I guy was “interested” in me.  Lame because the guys would pretend to care about what I did with my time when they really wanted to know, “You wanna fuck me?”

My neighbor was interested in me for sure, and pretended to care about my comings and goings.  He asked me where I was going in my car.  “To school.”  He asked me where I go at night.  “To work.”  He asked me where I worked.  I did not want him to come to the bar where I worked to talk to me.  There, I had to be nice to the customers and I was trapped at my hostessing station.  So, I told him I worked down the street.  It wasn’t a lie, and he had seen me come and go to work by foot, so I figured that would be enough for him.

And it was, sort of.  The neighbor continued to be overly solicitous whenever he saw me.  One day he knocked on my apartment door and held out, like a proud child, a rather scraggly looking potted plant.  I thanked him, but I really don’t think I was particularly encouraging.  I still have the plant.

I tried my best to keep our interactions short but sometimes when I was out with my puppy I had to talk to him until she was done doing her thing.  It was dark one evening when he found me in the building’s front yard with my puppy.  It must have been a rare night that I had off from work, and I was not in the mood to deal with him, but my puppy was taking her time.  I wanted to go.

Finally, I began walking up the building’s stairs to my apartment when the neighbor yelled after me, “I wanna get with you.”  I certainly would find that refreshing now, but 19-year-old me was freaked the fuck out.  It didn’t help that I found the man repulsive.  Then, as I was retreating further up the stairs, he held up his wallet and said, “I’ll pay!”

I picked up the puppy and ran to my apartment, where Israel was home.  He could see that I was upset when I told him what had just happened to me.  He thought it was funny.  I did not.

I swear.  True story

[To be continued ….]