Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Then and Now 46 - Friends All Around

Then and Now 46 - Friends All Around
Time: Mid-2007, single and at my apartment.

This was one busy day. It took place a few weeks after my tutoring classes got started up and had fully kicked off, and I had gotten to know Tim, Jessie and Amy very well.

First, Tim and Jessie asked me to come to their apartment to hang out for a while. It wasn't a class or anything like that, it was just two friends inviting me over to spend some time relaxing and having fun. When I got off the subway car, I came to a residential area of town, with rows of five or six story apartment buildings lining long roads with very few cars on them. Not only did Tim and Jessie's neighborhood feel open, spacious and opulent, but it was quiet, too.

They asked me to call them when I got near their place so they could come pick me up, so I found an interesting little landmark where they could find me easily: it was a small park in the shape of a triangle, with only a slide, a few swings and some monkey bars in it. It was small and oddly-shaped because it was in the middle of three lanes of traffic, which met up and went in three different directions at each point of the triangle. There was also a fence running all the way around it to keep the kids from dashing out. I was there and sitting on a bench for only two minutes when Jessie pulled up in her car, and I got inside to go to her and Tim's place.

It was a nice apartment. There was an L-shaped couch with some comfortable cushions in the front room, and a very large TV directly in front of it. On their counter were some bowls of fruit, and their coffee table had a couple of magazines to read. Their place had just the right amount of furniture and clutter to make it feel like home, but wasn't stifling enough to feel like I was getting lost amidst chairs, clothes and other unneeded knickknacks. Their infant daughter was sitting in the corner of the L couch, and I started to make faces and play with her. All she could do was follow me around with her eyes, open her mouth and wiggle her tongue around in response.

Tim excitedly asked if I wanted to play his Wii, which I had never played before, and I happily agreed. Jessie rolled her eyes in a teasing way, probably because man time was coming. I made my little avatar with spiked hair, evil eyes and a half-smirk. I was trying to make myself look confident, but I ended up looking more like a jerk. Even Tim laughed, "You look like such a bad guy!"

We played a couple of games. First up was a bowling game, where he proudly showed me his 300 score that he got sometime in the previous year, but as in real life, I wasn't able to bowl over 80 myself. Then we played tennis, which was kind of interesting, but I don't remember who won.

Finally, we played boxing. I was really railing on Tim for a good couple of minutes, getting in some solid hits, but I think he was playing possum, because as I was just a hit or two from winning, his guy suddenly jumped out and started raining blows on me. I tried to dodge and block his hits, but the controller wasn't really listening to what I was telling it to do, so my guy dropped his gloves down from his face right as Tim laid a haymaker directly across my left cheek. I was down and out in seconds. He cheered and I groaned at the same time.

We soon quit the game to talk about other things. I found out that day that Jessie is a published author here, and had written several children's books over the years. I was really impressed. After a while, though, it was time to go, so Tim and Jessie saw me outside. Before I went, they gave me their old bicycle, which they never rode anymore. I thanked them a bunch as I went out, and rode the bicycle back to the subway station.

Unfortunately, I couldn't take the bike onto the train, so I had to go back upstairs and leave it, unlocked, in front of a business. There were a bunch of other bikes there, and I really didn't need the bike all that much so I wasn't worried if it got taken away or stolen, but I still felt nervous leaving it there. I went back downstairs and took the subway back to my apartment for another scheduled meet-up with my other student Amy, and again, it was just her and me going out, not a tutoring session.

She picked me up in her car, and she drove us down a long, peaceful dark road from my town to the main city, and brought me to a seafood restaurant where she knew the boss. She excused herself to go talk with him, and I walked around, enjoying the fish trophies and other things hanging off of the walls. Amy came back a minute or two later and apologized for leaving me by myself. I told her not to sweat it, then complimented the boss on his place.

We got back in her car, and she asked if I wanted to see a movie with her. I said sure, we could go see the Simpsons movie, and we were off to find a theater that was playing it. Unfortunately, it either wasn't playing or was sold out, so we just spent a while driving around aimlessly for about an hour. We still talked about our childhoods, our time abroad in other countries and general English topics the whole time, though, so it was still a very fun trip.

Finally, as night had long set in and she had to head home, I asked if she could help me pick up Tim and Jessie's bike and take it back to my place. She happily agreed to help out, and we went to the business where I had left it. Thankfully it was still there, so we loaded it up, and headed back to my place. When we arrived, we both got out of the car, and she handed me my usual rate for a tutoring session.

I refused it immediately. I told her she was a friend now, not a student, and I didn't take money from friends. Besides, I was doing fine with my new job and apartment, so I didn't need to charge my friends money for my English lessons anyway. I was enjoying their company enough as it was. She smiled and put her money away, then we spent a couple of minutes outside her car chatting about a new modeling job that she was going to take. She had to leave the country and do some shoots over there, but she kept the same phone number and asked me to call her when we could hang out again.

And with that, Amy was gone, and like my other tutor-student-turned-friend George, I never saw her again. I texted her one time while she was abroad, and she wrote a message telling me how happy she was, but that was it. In any event, I'm still very happy to have gotten to know her.

As for the bike, I rode it to my job once or twice, but after it got a flat tire on the second or third ride, I just left it unlocked at the base of the stairs up to my apartment. I never really liked bikes, and not just because of the constantly popping tires, but because they were a pain to store, and never seemed to go much faster than speedwalking. It was still an awesome present, though. It remained at the bottom of the steps until my girlfriend got pregnant, then I moved out to be with her. I hope someone found it and is making use of it now.

As for today...

I woke up at 8:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the game.
I took my son out to get breakfast, but the first shop closed at 10:00, and the other one ran out of bread, so it took a bit longer than usual to find a place. We talked, cruised a bit, ate, then went home.
I watched TV.
I roughhoused with my son.
I watched internet movies with him.
I went to work by train, and played video games on the way.
I taught students.
I came home by train, and played video games on the way.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I folded and put away dry clothes.
I did the dishes.
I watched internet movies with my son.
I slept.

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