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Jeremy, Pivot: Ash and Cash (Last Part)

June 24, 2017

Shannon and Jeremy arrived early. They sat across from each other, Jeremy was nervous. He felt that his intentions on going to church were unforgiving. He had tried to ask Shannon twice already but failed from embarrassment. Just then he sees the two, Pauline and Phil in their car awaiting to turn into the parking lot. Jeremy sighs.

“Shannon?” Jeremy asks in a boyish way.

“Yeah?”

“I know this sucks, and I know what you must think of me, but do you think…” Jeremy somehow managed to get that out. He rubbed the back of his neck and made a horrible grin that made it seem like it was physically exhausting to be in this predicament and that Shannon can help. “I could borrow some money?” He pauses for a second. “It’s not a lot, and I know it sucks, but please. I try to never ask you for anything because you’ve done too much for me now, but I have nobody to turn to.” He then tries to display puppy dog eyes.

“Look, Jeremy, I love you. I’d do anything for you, and I will help, but you got to do something for me.” She looks sternly into his eyes. “You have got to stop being an ass!” She shouts loud enough that everybody in the restaurant turned to look at Shannon. “Be friendlier, be nice. You’ve been nothing but a dick to most people we know. It’s not right. It’s not cool either, in fact, that is annoying as fuck!” She attains the audience for this word as well.

“Thanks. I’ll try.”

“That’s all I ask.” She scoffs as Phil and Pauline walk into the restaurant. Shannon sees and waves them down. “Over here!” The couple does so, behind them a meek girl walks in with what looks like her son. The 4 of them conjoin another table, and they all sit down. Jeremy is across from Shannon, who is next to Pauline, who is across from the girl with the kid, who is next to her kid, which is across from Phil. “Jeremy. This is Ashley, and that little guy is Cash.” The kid‘s, 4 years old, and his head pops up upon hearing his name.

“Nice to meet you.” Ashley awkwardly, because the two are too close to each other, shakes his hand.

“Nice to meet you too,” Jeremy responds. “Hi, little guy.” He then directs towards Cash who ignores him.

“He doesn’t really like strangers,” Pauline says in a loud and bitchy way. Ashley was dressed like a Mom, she had a red button up gardening shirt and khaki capris. She wasn’t cute, nor was she ugly. She was meek and kind. She was a bit chubby, but that would be expected for somebody who has pushed a human being from her vagina. Ashley’s hair was a dirty blonde and was well kept. Her face, riddled with marks from her past, could be cute and adorable if sanded smooth. The kid wore a gray shirt and some weird red shorts, his head was buzzed, and he certainly seemed preoccupied discovering the abilities of the salt shaker. This kid was a winner.

“Well, then. I suppose I don’t like him then.” Jeremy said playfully as he glances at Shannon for approval. Everybody laughed at this except the kid and Pauline. The kid looked and scowled at Jeremy. Jeremy smiled back.

“You shouldn’t joke like that. You’ll give him complications.” Pauline snapped.

“Mom, he’ll be fine,” Ashley said as she caressed the back of her son’s head. Jeremy, oddly and confusing enough, felt jealousy by her actions.

“That’s how boys are,” Shannon said as she slaps the table in amusement and emphasis. The waiter comes by, and the group orders drinks and mingle and meander about issues and how the sermon went.

“I wish I could have gone.” Ashley states.

“Nah, you could have skipped it today, in fact, I wanted to walk out,” Shannon says to the bewilderment of the group. Realizing that everyone is shocked by her statement Shannon reiterates, “You can tell when he’s phoning it in! He’s a good Pastor, and he does a good sermon, but from time to time… Eh.”

“You can’t be serious! Bethany was bawling at the end when he was talking about how we all treat each other.” Pauline states angrily.

“Look, I’m not saying he’s wrong. I’m just saying that he had done that same exact sermon less than a year ago. I remember because the thought occurred to me: I think I heard this exact same sermon a few months ago! I understand that they repeat themselves, I mean there are only so many issues in the Bible, but this is an easy one. He wanted us to be afraid.”

“You should be afraid! They’re going to criminalize the Bible!” Pauline takes a stance in her chair of aggression.

“Dang, I wish I had gone today,” Ashley says.

“Why didn’t you?” Jeremy innocently asks.

“Had to get this guy from his Dad…” Ashley lets that last word linger, and so do the rest of the party.

“Damn.” Jeremy innocently responds. After a few minutes of talking amongst themselves- their food comes. Silence.

From time to time a person, anyone, You pick; will say, “Hmm, this is really good.”

Then another one will respond with, “Yeah? Mine is delicious.” After the meal, and the check being squared away, Jeremy found himself outside with Ashley. Phil was playing with his grandson, and Pauline was getting into it with Shannon about the sermon. Jeremy didn’t know how to feel about this. A kid? He thought over and over, thinking that he was going to be set up with her. He wasn’t, and soon after lunch was over, he realized this. He was put somewhere, and he has to do the work. A nervous feeling of dread fell upon him, this was mostly due to the fact that he hadn’t gone out with a girl in a few years and that one lucky day. The day his Mother died, he just seemed to be able to say the right things. Was it her spirit helping him? Or was it just a fluke that possibly shouldn’t have happened. Either way, it did, and here he is now. Standing in front of a diner, talking to a girl and not knowing what to say to get past that zipper.

“So, how’s that like?” Jeremy asks.

“What like?” Ashley responds.

“Well, the kid really. That idea scares the crap out of me.”

“It should. It sucks, he’s fussy, he cries, I live to keep him alive, but the crazy part is that I wouldn’t take it back. He’s my baby. I think it’s one of those things you’ll know when you have your own.”

“Well, hopefully not soon.” Jeremy playfully states. Ashley looks at him and squints her eyes.

“How old are you?”

“How old are you?” Jeremy imitates her squinting.

“33.”

“29.”

“See.”

“See what?”

“You’re about that age.”

Shocked by this revelation, Jeremy responds, “What? What do you mean?”

“You’re about parenting age. I was your age when I had him.”

“Yeah, but I’m single.”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t knock a girl up, stupid!” She says playfully. Jeremy appreciates this.

“Damn, that is kind of scary.” He pauses. “I think I’m going to go cut my dick off now,” Jeremy says with a tinge of laughter at the end of the statement. Ashley laughs at this. She smiles with her head down and her eyes up at Jeremy. That’s when he saw it, he saw past life’s scars and saw something underneath. His face then went red as he noticed her family staring at him. “What?” Jeremy asks.

“Cut my… What off!?” Pauline angrily states. “How dare you talk to my daughter like that! She’s a clean Christian gal!” Jeremy looks to Shannon, and she’s pretending to not notice what is currently happening. He then glances at Ashley, and she is nervously smiling at him.

“Sorry?” Jeremy nonchalantly says. “It was just a joke. A bad joke…”

“We’re leaving! Phil? Let’s go.” the Elderly Woman says as she marches towards her car, Phil awkwardly smiles and nods to everybody.

“Ash, C’mon,” Phil says gently.

“OK, Daddy.” She looks to Jeremy and smiles with a sigh. “It was nice meeting you.”

“Thanks, it was nice meeting you too.” The two stood there awkwardly. She glances down at her feet and then up at Jeremy and smiles once again. She nods and slowly walks away. He stood there watching her leave when Shannon smacks him in the back of the head.

“You’re an idiot!”

“What!?”

“The way you flirt with a girl is to say that you’re going to cut your dick off? What the hell is wrong with you!?” She poignantly states. “I’m sure she’ll be at church next week, so I suppose that I’ll be seeing you there then?”

“Probably.” He mutters in an angry childlike way.

“I told you she was cute. You just got to get to know ‘em first.” She says as she walks away. “I’ll give you the money you want at work tomorrow.” She yells without looking back.

“Thanks.” He says in a monotone voice that he was sure she could not hear.

He thought about what Shannon said. She wasn’t cute, she wasn’t ugly either. She was bland. She was the sort of girl you’re supposed to take home to mother if you have one. As he thought about this, he somehow appeared at his home. Looking around he finally felt it was necessary to clean. If Ashley were to ever come over. He thinks to himself as if they had exchanged phone numbers and set a date to go out. He gushed as he ignored the idea that he was settling. It didn’t matter, the next woman he would’ve met would’ve been the One anyways. He was ready to meet another girl, and it wouldn’t matter who she was, just as long as she had a vagina. He just as well assumed that this next one will leave him, but what’s the use? To Jeremy, he felt that she was a ticket out of isolationism and that he just wanted to have sex. Obviously, Ashley puts out, her kid is evidence for that.

“Fuck,” Jeremy says, just to say it, as he drops a piece of trash in the garbage. There was no meaning behind this use of the word, it was like a poorly placed period in a sentence. The future for Jeremy, just like so many other people out there, is mundane and stagnant. He will always have that job and never grow out of it, he will marry Ashley but never completely love her, and he won’t care that his life is like this. He doesn’t care about it because it’s easier. 

If anything is worth getting it’s worth an attempt because you don’t deserve it.” – Anonymous.

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