The Final Rose

Kevin hits the ground running. First stop check the bank. By some stroke of luck, he has funds available. He withdraws his max at the atm so that he can get started on his exit strategy before the branch opens and he closes his account. He has a few small nagging debts to clear up that will also help his conscience. Taking money from those who had it to spare was one thing, but scamming a poor soul was not his style. Except in dire straits. Today he would pay restitution.

He would leave the car return until the bitter end. It was so convenient having wheels and these were the cream of the crop. He could get used to these if he was sticking around. Where he was going wheels were not a requirement. His car buddy took the old beater in exchange for the use of the Audi and a few bucks. Once he finished his running around he could take back the loaner and Uber it to the airport. Easy.

Making the few pit stops was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. He was actually giving up his North American life for good. His final chapter would play out in the sun and sand. He figured he had a few more good years to make some bucks and then he’d be able to coast forever. Sailing into the sunset. Literally. Would he miss the comforts of familiarity he wondered? The people he knew (who he’d now be flush with and back in good graces), his favourite haunts, memories were flooding into his daydream. Then he jolted into the present when his phone buzzed. It was her. A gooey message. He tapped a quick reply with a few of those stupid emojis she liked. Yup. Time to get the hell out. He was so done with clingy pathetic broads that sucked the life out of him. Sayonara.

She lounged in bed as she typed a quick text to a Kevin. Basking in the warmth of the bed linens and thinking how great it was to have someone to share her bed with! And even better that he was so driven with business that he had to leave town for a few days every week! It was the perfect set up. She could have her cake and eat it too. She would have lingered a bit longer but she was hungry. Boy, having a wicked hangover sure did play havoc with the appetite. Time to get a coffee and get on the phone. There was so much to tell!! She could feel an engagement coming on. Dr and Mrs had a great ring to it. Ring. Oh yes! She’d start shopping today. Bling! Her most favourite thing!

Empty coffee cup in hand she wandered back into the kitchen for a refill. Why weren’t her friends overjoyed for her?? Why did they have to poke holes in the happiness bubble? She was always happy (at least pretend happy) for them. Oohing at their grandkids or new acquisitions or face lift. They should return the favour! What a bunch of jealous hags. Maybe it was time to rethink her circle of friends. Kevin probably had a vast network of people she would meet. They would be doing couple things. Just the thought of not being the third wheel anymore made her glow. Her single friends are totally jealous. Her married friends are thrilled; she wouldn’t be flirting with their husbands anymore. Well. At least for now. She liked the reaction she got from the guys even though her friends were less than pleased. She’d have the last laugh.

Kevin stopped in at the travel agency to pick up his paperwork for the flight later in the day. It would have been a lot easier if he was even remotely tech savvy enough to do the booking on line. But between no funds to pay with and no data plan on his cheapie phone he was hooped. He explained to the nosey twit in the travel office that his friend was dying in Central America and he needed to get there and stay indefinitely to wrap things up. Like it was any of her business. She bought the fairy tale and offered her condolences and prayers. Blah blah. Just get on with it already. No. He didn’t need travel insurance. No. He didn’t need a rental car. No. He didn’t want the emergency coverage. Finally. A printed boarding pass and itinerary in hand, he headed out of the office amidst a trail of well wishes. Sigh.

He had four hours before his flight. Just enough time to deal with the car, close the bank account and get a trak phone that he would start using in his new life. He just had to keep his current phone for a day or two until he was safely in the beach. The last thing he needed was to raise any red flags. At the bank he knew he would get hassled. So he decided to withdraw all but a few hundred dollars. They didn’t have that much cash in hand and he couldn’t travel with that much anyway. He had a new account set up by his buddy down south. He took the max in cash and put the rest on a wire transfer. When he got down south he’d make arrangements to transfer it personally. He didn’t trust anyone. Not even his pal. The bank bought the same death and dying story so it wasn’t too bad. By the time his patience ran out he would be on his way never to look back or use this bank again. Ever. Funny how when you needed money they treated you like dirt. When you had money they did headstands trying to keep it. Screw them.

At the Walmart he was stunned at the array of disposable phones. What a joke. You could totally live under the radar if you wanted to and still be connected. Technology was something that eluded Kevin except when he needed it to suit his purpose. Then he was able to quickly learn just enough to get the job done. Okay. That was easy. New phone. New life. One less tether.

His buddy at the car lot wanted to jerk him around about the price for the beater. They’d agreed on a price but he was trying to renege. What a piece of work. Kevin would have been all over a good haggling session but time was not on his side. He agreed to the lower price and made a mental note to get even. Knowing that the likelihood of him making good on the grudge was slim. Moving on. He used his old phone one last time to get an Uber. It was actually happening. He was checking out. Could he hold on to his excitement until he was in the air? He would have to.

She puttered around the house talking to herself in a loud voice. She always talked to herself when she needed to debate things. Her friends had given their input. Mostly negative. The usual warnings: he’s moving to fast; you don’t know him well enough; there’s something fishy; he’s too perfect; it’s not going to last. What? Too perfect?? That’s right ladies. I found him. The real thing. Perfect in every way. Eat your hearts out. That’s a great shade of green on you. She argued with herself for some time before she felt a crack in the veneer of the perfect glossy shell of her new life. Just text him and put your mind at ease. So she did. Not too gushy. Not too desperate. Just a quick hello. With a few emojis.

Uber is on its way. A silver dodge mini van. Been Ubering for three years. Great reviews. Awesome. But who cares. Just get me to the airport. Phone buzzes. A quick glance. It’s her. Oh god. He better respond one last time. But not too quickly. He didn’t want to encourage a conversation. He’d ditch the phone at the gate just before he boarded. What a crazy broad. She was so insecure and needy. Here comes the van. Saved by the mini van. Ok. Here we go.

She sent the text and waited. Maybe he was in a meeting. Or out for a lunch. Or he was ignoring her. Or lunch was with someone else. Another woman. Or …. STOP! You’re being ridiculous. He’s been gone only since this morning. It’s barely afternoon. Go clean the bathroom. Go shopping. Anything. But stop obsessing!

The airport was jammed. Where were all these people going? Thankful that his Uber was not a chatterbox the short drive was peaceful. He needed to gather his thoughts. Check in was pleasant. It’s been a while since he’s flown anywhere but his last recollections were of angry uptight counter staff and moody security attendants. So far so good today. His gate was packed. The first leg of the trip was to a US hub. Then a plane change to the final destination. He found a single seat in the gate lounge and thought about his reply text. He started typing. Then deleted. He didn’t want to sound like he was saying goodbye. He didn’t know how to thank her for the new life he was getting at her expense. So he decided on a brief, loving message. I love that you’re thinking about me. It’s making it harder to do my job. See you in a couple of days. I can’t wait. Emojis.

Now boarding…..

Ding! See?!?! He totally loves you … stop worrying for nothing.

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