I was just in time to meet a woman as she burst from the door above and ran down the stairs past me pulling a sweater on. Her path past me told the man that another person stood here. He hadn’t noticed that detail last time.
He looked over the rail. I backed up but I knew he could still see my feet. “Who are you?” he asked. The smell of alcohol was so strong, I could smell it from where I stood.
I went on up the stairs; this was why I was here.
As soon as I entered the apartment, he was pulling another glass from the cupboard. He handed it to me and turned for the fridge.
I turned to set the wine glass on the counter and saw two others sitting there already full. “You already have some here. Have you lost count? We can’t have that. We’ll start over.” I poured those two drinks down the drain.
He turned back from rummaging in the fridge and reached past me to fill my glass. This was his first time actually facing me. He looked at me with his bloodshot eyes. His hair was disheveled to say the least, and he probably hadn’t shaved in a couple days. His striped pajama shirt was buttoned with only two of its buttons and they weren’t lined up, and his bottoms might very well be on backwards. I found it odd, despite how obviously drunk he was, that he only had one black sock on.
Puzzled, he studied my face. “Do I know you?” He set the wine bottle down on the counter behind me.
Now I know I am no up town looker like the girl who had just left, not even like my girlfriend. I wasn’t his style at all. “We’ve met,” I said. “I heard you were drinking. In fact I heard several different accountings of your inebriation. Once upon a time you meant something to my girlfriend. Sandy. You do remember Sandy, don’t you? Since you meant something to her, I thought I’d come see for myself. You know, she still talks about you. I think if she were standing here instead of me, she’d be crying. I’d hate to see Sandy cry.”
I turned around to retrieve my drink. “I don’t much care for wine.” I poured it down the drain.
“Ah, well, um, that wine really needs to go back in the fridge.” He reached for the bottle.
“Well then, we can’t let it get cold.” I scooped the bottle out of his reach and poured it down the drain too. “Pretty bottle. I might have to keep that.” It was too. The cut glass would make a beautiful vase. I set it on the counter.
He turned back to the fridge. “Well then, can I interest you in some beer?” Drunk as he obviously was, he was quick with the bottle opener and had them flipped open and steaming cold in front of me, already one on the way to his lips. I snatched it from him and washed the wine down the drain with them.
“You’ve changed. Or have you? Maybe this is the you Sandy left. I admired you though.”
He headed for the bedroom. There were likely other drinks in there since the contents of his fridge were going down the drain so fast.
“You want to know what I admired about you? I thought you were almost perfect. You reminded me of what’s-his-name in that movie. Pretty Woman. You look a lot like him, you know. Heck, you almost have the same name. Dick Gear. You are the reason I even half remember his name. What is his first name anyway? I’ll have to look it up again one of these days.”
Dick headed directly for the bedside table and the half full bottle waiting there. In the dim light of the room, it looked like a bomb had gone off – a clothes bomb anyway. All the way around the large center of attraction, the rumpled bed that looked like it hadn’t been made in a month or more, were piles and drifts of clothes that looked like they’d been kicked there.
Even though the curtains were closed, blocking out the morning light, I could spot at least three empty bottles and more wine glassed among the clothes, and at least one more empty bottle under the bed – and yes, there was another glass down there too. What did he do when he ran out of glasses in the cupboard, order some more online? If he was this drunk, he wasn’t going to any store.
He turned around with his find and I was there to relieve him of it. “I remember that first day I saw you. You were so slick. I don’t think Sandy ever saw the girl you slipped past her. ‘Course you didn’t know I was down there on the stairs so I saw her. Sandy was so happy to be home; I couldn’t spoil it for her.”
He made a grab for the bottle, but I went back to the kitchen and upended it in the sink, leaving it to empty itself down the drain.
“You were the handsomest man, even with gray hair, I’d ever seen, I think. Your hair was immaculate. You were perfectly dressed, even your tie was centered – perfect. Sandy didn’t suspect a thing. How could she? That girl could have been a magazine salesgirl. But I saw. I saw how you snuck her out. I saw the utterly guilty look on her face when she saw me. But let’s get back to you. You had a beautiful smile. You want to know what was wrong with that smile though? That beautiful, charming smile, showing those perfect white teeth, never made it to your eyes, not even when you looked as Sandy. I knew, that first day, that Sandy was just another of your girls. The fact that she lived with you didn’t make any difference.”
I opened the refrigerator and started dumping the liquid contents down the drain as quickly as I could open the bottles.
“When was the last time you actually ate any real food?” I started in on the beer bottles. He had something for every possible occasion, and I knew there had to be more bottles in the cupboards, or somewhere.
He just stood there watching me.
“You mean something to her, therefore you mean something to me.”
So yeah, my dreams take an odd turn sometimes. Where this one came from, I have no idea. I've been watching the Burn Notice series recently, and I haven't watched Pretty Woman in maybe a couple years now. The guy, Dick, really did remind me of Richard Gere in that movie; he could have been his twin or a stunt double, but the name was also given to me in the dream so the two were definitely not the same at all. My girlfriend's name was too, and I do have a girlfriend by that name, my longest standing girlfriend, and the only one of her kind. The picture in my head for this girlfriend, however, was the perfect model image of her - something neither of us were anywhere close to in all of our lives. She also never had any such an affair, and I never had the chance to meet any of her chosen mates. Her life has always been on the other end of the country from mine. We were fast friends in Junior High and stayed connected through collage. We lost contact after that as I went east and she went north. Then I went way north and she went south. We reconnected through my mom and would exchange whole books for letters. Now we stay in touch through Facebook. Her life and interests now are very different from mine, but I still love her. I can see myself doing something like this for her, even though she would never know.