Here We Go Now
Max turned away from staring out the truck window, her train of thought derailed by Farrar’s latest proclamation. “What did you just say?”
“Life,” said Farrar gloomily. It was the first words Max had heard from him all day, but they seemed weighted down with some kind of regret. “It’s all just a big joke. Politics, religion, everything. None of it matters. None of it means anything.”
Farrar lapsed back into silence, leaving Max to wonder what the hell he was talking about. The uncomfortable silence lasted for a couple of blocks worth of traffic, until she couldn’t stand it any longer.
“What the hell are you talking about, Farrar?”
Farrar mumbled something that Max couldn’t quite make out.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“Katie,” snapped Farrar, not taking his eyes off the road. “She left me. I got home from a meeting last night and she had cleared out all her stuff. She left me.”
“Oh,” said Max. She didn’t really want to ask the next question, but she couldn’t help himself. “Who is Katie?”
Farrar stopped at a red light, pulled the handbrake on and turned to Max with a look of disbelief. “My fiancée. She left me.”
“I didn’t know you had a fiancée,” said Max truthfully.
“We’ve been engaged for seven months!”
Farrar turned his attention back to the road as the light turned green. “She left me a note. Said she couldn’t handle my shit any more. What the fuck does that mean?”
Max had a thousand sarcastic remarks ready to use, but for some reason she could never explain, she actually felt sorry for Farrar. “I’m sorry, man.”
Farrar kept his eyes on the road, speaking in a dull monotone. “Yeah, thanks. But nothing means anything.”
He lapsed back into silence and Max let it hang in the air. They drove the rest of the way to their next stop without another word.
They pulled into the store as Leanne waited patiently with her clipboard ready. Max was out of the truck’s cab before they had even stopped, eager to escape Farrar’s misery before it became contagious.
Leanne raised an eyebrow and nodded silently at Farrar as he hauled himself out of the truck, but Max just shook her head. Leanne smiled.
“Hey,” she said, pointing back over her shoulder into the depths of the dock. “Can you take that faulty microwave back to the central depo today? It’s been sitting there for weeks.”
“Sure,” said Max. As she walked towards the back of the store she saw Leanne pat Farrar on the shoulder and he whispered something to her. She thought it was funny, she had barely ever seen those two talk, but it looked like she was offering him some small comfort.
“Funny old world,” she said to herself as she reached the back of the store and began to look for the microwave.
“That depends on your sense of humour,” said a female voice that caused Max’s heart to skip a beat.
She turned to see Claire in one of the corners, taking a stock count. She smiled at Max and her heart managed to skip several more beats all at once.
“Hi,” she said weakly.
“Hey,” Claire replied. “How are you doing?”
“Ah…” said Max as her scrambled mind tried to think of something witty and clever to say. “Can’t complain.”
She nodded and went back to her stock count as Max wished for an earthquake to swallow her up, or a lightning bolt to strike her down. Any Act of God would do.
She picked up the broken microwave and headed back towards the exit, where Farrar was helping Leanne unload. She got two steps when she heard a voice in the back of her skull.
“Just ask her, you fucking wimp.”
She stopped. Turning back around she cleared her throat and waited for Claire to look back up from her stock take.
“Yes?” she asked, tapping her pen on her chin.
“I was just wondering if you wanted to go get a drink tonight after work. Would you be up for something like that?”
Claire’s face fell and Max’s stomach fell perfectly in time with it. “Oh, I’m sorry. I can’t, not tonight.”
Max began to turn away so she wouldn’t see how pathetic she looked. “That’s okay. I was just-“
“But I’m free tomorrow night. Would that do?”
Max looked back and could not stop the biggest grin she had ever had spreading across her face.
“That would do just fine.”
“Okay,” said Claire, going back to her stock take. “Pick me up from the front of the store at five tomorrow. Okay?”
Max walked back to the front of the dock. She never expected her to say yes, it wasn’t the sort of response she was used to from girls like that.
But she had, all the same.
Max walked towards the light, confident that whatever she had done in the past, whatever time she had wasted, there was still somebody looking out for her.
Who could ask for anything more?