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Some Other Girl, Not Me

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Believe me, I don't usually pick a guy up at the bar and bring him on home. I don't think I've ever done that but once or twice before. It just happened, that's all.

Mary wanted to take the kids last Friday night. I let her. She always tells me I need to go out, have some fun, but what's the point in fun? Just means I'm tired for the rest of the weekend, tired as hell if I have to go in and work a shift on Sunday. And if you work at the car wash, you want to get the weekend shifts. You work harder, yeah, and a lot faster, but you make more money than on weekdays.

Mary acts like it's a big favor she does for me, taking the kids, but it's not really. I even miss em when they're not in the house. But I send the kids over to her place because they like going there. Mary has cable, she makes real macaroni and cheese, her own recipe, and says if they don't eat their broccoli and carrots they won't get their brownies for dessert. But they like veggies, so they eat it anyway. It's just a little game they like to play, she threatens, they say, we won't eat it, we won't eat it, but they always cave in the end, just like she knew they would. She helps make popcorn and she cooks up apple cider in a little sauce pan, and then they all go into the living room and curl up together on the couch to watch TV. They love it there. Mary doesn't have anybody of her own, so she's got lots of attention to give, lots of goodies to spoil them.

When I do go out, it's usually with Sheila, to this Karaoke bar on the other side of town. I like singing, even if it's just like that, just in some dive, I don't even know where I am when I sing, get so caught up in it.

I guess I noticed him soon as I walked in. I try not to notice guys. It's like if I see someone from the corner of my eye and it seems like they might be attractive, I don't even wanna look in their direction. I know it sounds like I got burned bad, and that's pretty much the truth. I know a lot of women who had worse scrapes than mine and still manage to pull themselves together and find another guy, but I don't even know if I want another guy. If I was on my own, it'd be another thing, but with the kids to look after, I don't want them getting mixed up in my mistakes. So it couldn't be some guy from a bar. Not that all guys at a bar are scum or anything like that, just seems unlikely that someone who picks me up for a one-night stand is gonna want to settle down. All that aside, yeah, I noticed him, sitting by himself at the bar, one of those dark and handsome types, a brooder, like he's got a history, like he's got stories to tell. Waves in his hair, stubble on his chin, great ass in tight jeans, what more do ya want? He looked up for a moment when we walked inside, but I didn't see any interest in his face. Somehow that made it easy. If he didn't want me, then I could get away with watching him a little.

Sheila took out her smokes, but I didn't want one. They say it's not good for your voice, and I knew I wanted to sing. We asked at the bar for the binder with all the songs they got and Sheila asked for a rum and coke and I asked for a beer. I knew what song I wanted to sing, though, been singing it to myself all week while I was washing windows.

And I sang, and it was over too soon, just like it always is. Can wait all week for it and it's gone before you ever had a chance to even realize it was happening. I came down off the little stage they've got, and he was there, waiting for me, like something out of a movie, grinning at me and clapping his hands. "That was nice," he said, and I let him steer me over to the bar and buy me a drink.

I don't need to tell you the rest of it, do I? I mean you know how it goes, we talked, we drank, we laughed, I got drunk, his hand was at my waist, my hand was on his thigh, I took him home, we fucked, I mean what can I tell you? It's an old story, everyone knows it, everyone's got one or one thousand of their own, so just take one of yours to fill in this space where I'm gonna keep quiet. Because I don't need to tell anyone what goes on in my bed, it's none of your business. I'll tell you this, though, sometimes I feel like Dave's ghost is still in the room, like he knows and I wonder if he's mad at me for it, or if he's just glad I'm not alone.

It's never so much what happens in the night, you know what I mean? Like I said, it's all the same in the night, in the dark, same struggle and ache and moan that's made the world go round ever since the first man and woman walked out the gates of Eden. It's different in the morning, though, every man is different in the morning. Maybe I'm different, too. Maybe they see me for the first time then, in the day's light. I don't know. I just know that when I finally woke up and got myself into the shower, I felt even more worn than when I went to bed.

"What's your last name, Katie?" he asked, sitting at the kitchen table like he belonged there, waiting for me to finish cooking the eggs.

"Le Fevre."

"Le Fevre. I like that. Le Fevre. That French? Does it mean 'the fever'?"

"Don't know. Was my husband's name. Kids kept it, so I keep it, too."

"Someday I'm gonna write a song about you," he said, all smiles when I slid his breakfast plate in front of him.

He left before noon, that's when the kids were gonna be back, and I just stood there in my kitchen, looking at the piles of dirty dishes in the sink, a puddle of tomato sauce dried on the floor, the stained curtains. It was good, that night, don't get me wrong, but all the same, if I could have that time back to get the house clean, hell, maybe I'd take it. Isn't that just how life goes? Everything just gets messier, and I should know, out in the sun every damn day, almost, cleaning those windshields until they sparkle. And then a week or two later, however long it takes, that car's back, same car, splattered with mud and dust and dirt, and I do it all over again, wash it down, polish it up and make it shine, one more time.

Someday I'm gonna write a song about you. Was just a sweet thing to say, right? Didn't mean anything. Except that it stayed with me, thorn in my side. I keep thinking of someone else singing my song, the song about me, my life, and that just doesn't seem right.

And I keep thinkin about how he'd probably make the words rhyme, cause it seems like words always rhyme in a song. But life's not simple like that, and how can a song be real if you pick the words just so they sound right with the other words? I don't think you can make a song like life but that you have to tell some lies and if anyone's gonna lie about my life, shouldn't it be me?

But I'm spending too much time fretting about it, I know. No big thing, it was no big thing, he had a warm body, strong hands, he let me feel safe for a night.

I can't worry too much about it, though. There's a new golf club opening in Shaw County, and Sheila got me an interview for wait staff. It would be a real good job, worth the drive, because it's a private club so we get a pretty good hourly rate plus a share in the tips, and those golfers pay a required twenty percent service fee on each meal, can you believe it? So I'll have more money comin in each month, and hopefully I can get out of this slump where I have to ask my Dad for money sometimes. He's retired now, fixed income, and he has to take it out of his savings and all, and I hate to do that, makes me feel real low.

So things'll be a lot better once I get that job. And then if people ever hear a song about Katie Le Fevre working down at the car wash, they'll think, nah, it can't be her, I know Katie Le Fevre and that just ain't her. I guess I'd know, though. I'd know it was me. If he does write it, and I don't think he would, just a nice thing he said to make me feel good, I hope he uses some other name. I hope I don't ever hear it on the radio. I want to sing my song. It's nobody else's to sing.