I get helped out a lot, so I believe I should help others when I can. My elderly and widowed neighbor, Mrs. Angela Fulton just called me to come over and set up her new Weather Radio. It is only mid-May, but it seems as if Hurricane Season is getting an early start. The local TV news station reported earlier today that Tropical Storm Alidore is potentially headed towards our city and is also forecast to become a hurricane.
So, with that, I walk out my front door and engage the deadbolt. Then I walk across my porch, down my steps and leave my yard, locking my hurricane fence behind me. I go to the house adjacent mine, walk up the steps and knock on the front door.
Soon enough, Mrs. Angela answers and lets me in.
“The weather radio is in my kitchen; I’ll go get it. Just make yourself at home,” She tells me.
“Sure thing, Mrs. Angela,” I tell her.
There is also beautiful young lady whom I have never seen before sitting on the sofa in the living room. I glance at her. She has a look of distress on her face, but then, wait, now she’s smiling at me. I smile back.
Mrs. Angela then walks back into her living room with her newly purchased Weather Radio, still in its package.
She hands it to me.
I take my Klein Electrician’s Knife from my pocket and cut open the blister packaging. Afterwards, I skim the manual. The radio is a Midland EH55VP. I’m impressed by the specs so I think I’ll buy myself one as well.
After I finish skimming the manual, I ask Mrs. Angela, “Where do you want me to plug the charger in?”
“By my bed would be fine, ” She replies.
“Show me where you have an electrical socket.”
“Okay, just a second.”
She walks me to her bedroom and I start setting up the radio.
While programming the FIPS code into the radio, I ask Mrs. Angela in a whispering voice, “Who’s that pretty girl in your living room?”
“That’s Annabelle Jenkins. She lives in the apartment complex two streets over.”
“I’ve never seen her before. How do you know her?”
“I drove her over here because her mother left her in the parking lot at Melinda’s Superstore.”
“Isn’t she worried about catching a child abandonment charge.”
“No, the girl is eighteen.”
“Wow! I can’t get over how pretty she is.”
“Well, I think it’s terrible that a mother would abandon her own offspring, especially since a hurricane might be coming this way,” Mrs. Angela pauses for a second, then continues, “You should go talk to her. Who knows? Y’all might make a nice couple. I know you must be lonesome.”
“Yes, but I’m twenty-five. What would I have in common with her?”
“Age is just a number. My husband, God rest his soul, was seven years older than me. We loved each other like there was no tomorrow and I still terribly miss him to this day.”
“Oh, I don’t know if I could be like that with her, marriages like that are pretty much non-existent these days.”
“You’ll never know unless you try. That’s why most marriages of today fail, no one tries hard enough.”
“And those that do try hard, many times get their hearts broken.”
“Now come on, I see you in that house all by yourself all day long. I know you must be lonely there. Here you could have a potential for love and companionship. Don’t let this girl be the one that got away.”
“I guess you’re right. ”
“Of course. When you get as old as me, you know quite a few things about life.”
I finish setting up the weather radio and place it on her night table.
“Good. Now go talk to her.”
“Sure. But what should I say?”
“I’ll help you out, Johnny.”
So, we both walk back into the living room. I go to sit in the recliner when Mrs. Angela says, “Why don’t you sit on the sofa give this old lady her rocker?”
“Sure thing,” I say, awkwardly, then go sit next to the girl.
She smiles at me again. I smile back.
Mrs. Angela continues, “I’m sorry. I didn’t introduce y’all to each other: Annabelle, this is Johnny Joseph Elder. Johnny this is Annabelle Jenkins.”
We look at each other and awkwardly but sweetly smile.
Mrs. Angela then asks Annabelle, “So what exactly were you and your mother arguing about that she left you in the parking lot?”
Annabelle replies, “We were going to make groceries at Melinda’s and I told her I needed her to buy me a phone card for my Go Phone to turn my service back on. I then told her that I also needed a flash drive so I could type my term paper. She told me to buy them myself. I told her that I had no money because her stupid boyfriend took my money from me to buy pills. Then it all erupted and she left me in the parking lot. My term paper is due tomorrow and if I don’t turn it in, I don’t graduate.”
I gently put my hand on Annabelle’s and say, “I can get you a phone card and a flash drive if you want. I was going to Melinda’s anyway, to buy a weather radio. I thought Mrs. Angela’s one was cool so I’m going get one for myself-especially since there might be a hurricane coming.”
Mrs. Angela looks at Annabelle and says, “Why don’t you walk with him to the store. He’s a really good guy and, by the way, he couldn’t stop saying how he thinks you’re pretty!”
Annabelle, looks at me, smiles and asks, “Do you really think I am pretty.”
I nod with a bold blush and a wide grin.
She smiles back, then asks, “And you’d really buy those things for me?”
“Sure. Unless you have a boyfriend. It might make him angry if I did such a thing.”
“No. I’m single. Look how fat I am! Who would want me?”
“Well, I think your weight compliments your appearance.”
Annabelle smiles and blushes slightly, but then says, “Everyone at school harasses me because of my weight.”
“Don’t worry about them, high school students are so cruel sometimes. But once you graduate, none of them will matter ever again.”
“Well, I won’t graduate unless I write and turn in that paper.”
“Then, by all means, let’s go to the store and get some supplies.”
“Sure, I guess.”
“Y’all have a good time.” Mrs. Angela interjects.
We step up from the sofa then walk out of Mrs. Angela’s front door, down her steps, out of her front yard, then on the sidewalk and walk for a block to Melinda’s Massive Superstore.
As we are walking, Annabelle asks me, “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m on disability, but before that, I was an electrician’s helper. I never refuse any work that I’m actually capable of, though, and I try to help anyone whenever I can.”
“Oh, well that’s very kind of you, but how did you become disabled?”
“I was connecting the power to an outside air conditioning unit when I got shocked, lost my balance and fell eight feet and landed back first on top of a picket fence. The impact of the injury ruined my back.”
“Wow. I’m sorry that happened.”
“Well it is a blessing in disguise, I guess. You see, I’m still able to pay the mortgage and my bills, plus I have a lot of free time to do what I truly like which is writing.”
“I like to write too.”
“Neat. I’d like to read your work if that’s all right with you.”
“Only if you let me read yours.”
“I would let you see some of my stories, but others get a little steamy. I wouldn’t dare show them to a lady like you.”
“I might like the steamy ones even more though.”
“I have to make sure you are eighteen though, right. Mrs. Angela says you are.”
“Yes. Since April Fourth of this year.”
“Okay, I guess I can show them to you then.”
“How old are you though,” She asks me.
“I made twenty-five on January Twenty Seventh. I hope you don’t think I’m too old because I really do like you.”
“Nah, age is just a number. Besides, you’re cute, you’re sweet and you’re taking care of me. Anyway, who else would want me?”
“So I guess you like me too?”
“Yes. I do. A lot of guys I know are either too immature or just total jerks. However, you, somehow, seem different.”
“I feel like I’m on cloud nine.”
Awkwardly we hug, then begin to hold each others’ hands as we walk into Melinda’s Massive Superstore.
“Will you be able to pay for my items as well as your weather radio? I mean you are on a fixed income.”
“Sure, that’s no problem. I have a revolving credit account over here. Besides, it’s for getting things we need.”
We walk to the household merchandise section and I select a Midland EH55VP weather radio and a San Disk 16 GB flash drive. Then we walk to the front of the store and I select a Go Phone Refill card. Afterwards, we get in line to check out.
The cashier says as she smiles at me, “Johnny, you finally got a girlfriend. Y’all look so cute together.”
Annabelle and I smile at each other, then hug each other gently.
The cashier then looks at Annabelle and she says, “He’s a keeper, so treat him right and don’t break his heart.”
“Yes, I can tell he’s a keeper and he’s cute as can be,” Annabelle says.
I blush, then tell the cashier my account number and she charges the items to it.
We are handed our items, then go sit down in the food court.
She adds the credit from the Go Phone card to her AT&T plan, holds up her smartphone, a Samsung Galaxy Express 3, points it at me and says, “Since I am your girlfriend, I would like your phone number.”
“Of course,” I say, then call it out to her. She instantly programs it into her phone.
Then I say, “I want yours as well.”
“Of course, silly. I was hoping you’d ask me.”
She then calls it out and I program it into my phone, a Samsung Rugby 4.
We pick up our phones and purchased items, then leave the store happily.
“Well I guess I have to go type my paper now,” Annabelle says.
“Do you want to use my computer?”
“Good idea. I might be able to actually write the paper and not hear all the drama from my mom and her boyfriend.”
“Then let’s head to my house.”
She smiles, takes my hand and says, “Lead the way.”
We walk the block then arrive.
I unlock my hurricane fence, then we enter my yard. We walk up the steps onto the porch, then to my front door where I unlock the deadbolt.
I show her around my house saying, “Here it is. It’s not much but at least it’s mine.”
She looks around then sees the computer in my bedroom. Awkwardly, we simultaneously stare at my bed, then smile at each other, blushing.
“I guess I’ll get to work,” Annabelle says.
I start my computer up and log in, then hand her my swivel chair.
“Then I’ll set up my new weather radio and watch T.V. Afterwards I’ll prepare dinner for us. All I have is oatmeal because I didn’t defrost anything, but I can make it taste really good. That is if indeed you want to stay for dinner.”
“That’s fine. It’s much better than having to hear my mom and her boyfriend complain how they have to buy all of my meals.”
“Well, I’m glad I have someone to buy meals for.”
Annabelle sweetly hugs me and our faces meet. We share a soft loving kiss then hug once more.
“I’m sorry, did I overstep my bounds by kissing you,” I ask her.
“No, it was very sweet of you,” She replies, then continues, “Now let me type my paper, then we can spend some time together.”
“All right. I’ll let you get to work.”
I head for the doorway and she blows me another kiss, then begins writing her paper. I cut my weather radio out of the blister packaging with Klein Electrician’s knife then set it up on my kitchen gadgets rack, near the front porch window. Afterwards, I go into my living room, turn on my T.V. and adjust the antennas to watch the five o’clock news. There are numerous correspondents reporting how Tropical Storm Alidore is almost at hurricane strength and headed straight for our city. They are saying that a Watch will likely be issued at ten o’clock tonight. When the local news is finished I scan the channels on my T.V. for a while and eventually watch two reruns of MacGyver on the Me-TV sub-channel.
After the shows are over, I prepare some store brand oatmeal with White Gold sugar, store brand half ‘n’ half and McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract. When I’m done preparing dinner I walk to my bedroom. Annabelle is finishing up her term paper. She saves it to her flash drive and also on my hard drive.
We walk to the dining room. I serve the oatmeal then we say grace and eat.
After we finish eating, she offers to help me wash the dishes.
As we finish up the dishes, she asks, “Could we read some of your stories?”
“Yes, I would like that.”
We both walk to my computer and I pull up the folder with all my stories. I’m about to read to her when the alert function on my weather radio goes off from the kitchen. Seconds later her phone also goes off. We both get messages of a Hurricane Watch in effect.
“Should I walk you home to your mom’s?”
“Nah. She and her boyfriend will probably be on edge.”
“I would let you stay in my spare bedroom, but it’s totally up to you.”
“I guess I could. At least I will get a good night’s sleep instead of hearing my mom and her boyfriend, plus all the neighbors arguing.”
“Say no more; I’ll prepare the extra bed for you.”
I then go into my spare bedroom and pull back the covers on the bed. Then I turn the window unit to the coldest setting to get the room comfortable for Annabelle to sleep.”
After I walk back into my bedroom and Annabelle says, “Just walk me to the bus stop by my apartment complex in the morning, and I’ll board the bus from there.”
“Good, then I’ll go get some storm supplies from Melinda’s while you’re in school.”
“All right. I’ll call you during my bus ride home and you can meet me when I get off the bus at the complex. I might get a few days off from school and we can be together during that time.”
“That sounds great.”
“Now, since that’s settled why don’t we go back to reading your stories. I can’t wait to see them.”
“I wish I could see yours as well.”
“You can. I have them on a Micro SD card on my smartphone.”
“Great, so I’ll read one of my stories to you, then you’ll read one of your stories to me.”
We begin to read to each other, taking turns.
She writes beautifully, but what’s even more amazing is, she writes very much like me.
So I tell her, “We write very much alike. I always wanted to meet someone who wrote like me.”
“Yes, and you remind me of the good characters in my stories. It’s as if you came into existence just from what I wrote,” She pauses then says “Do you think you could read me one of your more steamy stories?”
“Well, I guess.”
“Don’t be shy.”
“Okay, here goes nothing,” I say then select the file and I read to her.
She stares intently at me and with great focus, smiling from ear to ear.
I keep on reading until I’m finished.
“Would it be all right if I took a bath? I need to be clean for school.”
“Sure. Let me get you a towel and a washcloth.”
I grab them from my utility room and open a fresh bar of soap and hand it to her. She winks at me then goes into my bathroom and turns on the water. I sit in my living room and scan the channels on my TV set. After an hour she comes out covered in a towel.
I am overcome by her beauty, but quickly I regain my composure.
“I guess I’ll go to sleep now,” Annabelle says.
“Sure thing,” I reply.
“Aren’t you going to kiss me goodnight?”
“If you want me to.”
“Of course I do, Johnny. I want that and so much more,” Annabelle says, then embraces me strongly. We share several kisses then she goes into my spare bedroom and gets dressed.
I go into my bedroom barely able to sleep because a beautiful young lady is under my roof. Finally, I doze off and dream many dreams about her…