Every payday we went to Walgreens. At the end of our shift Edward would say, “Oh, Anuhea, let’s go for a drive, shall we?” We could have gone anywhere — the sprawl is most complete when you’re in the bull’s eye of the country — but we’d invariably only go from Kansas City’s Seville-esque Plaza through to the outskirts of the gingerbread brick town of Brookside, which was a ten minute walk at best. In fact, you could see the Walgreens from the parking lot rooftop of our Tommy Bahama shop — which always made me feel a bit silly about our jaunts.
“Oh, Anuhea. It’s too cold/hot/ugly/beautiful out today to walk,” Edward would say, if ever I suggested it. So, into my hot pink Ford “Sexcort” we’d hop (which had first belonged to my then-boyfriend’s mother, then his sister, then me… and which Edward dubbed “fabulous,” along with a thousand other things), and off we’d buzz to, well, Walgreens.
“I think we need some vodka,” Edward would say. “Yes. A big bottle of vodka. What do you think, Anuhea?”
Edward always needed my opinion, though he didn’t [he was a man of impeccable taste, only to be compromised when he was broke — which was always, when I knew him (something we had in common)]. If he bought Smirnoff instead of Skyy, did he look cheap? Well (whatever my answer) it didn’t matter, he’d conclude, because “Tommy Bahama (didn’t) pay us shit, anyway,” and “fuck the Walgreens cashier if they want(ed) to judge.” But would his date think he was cheap? Well fuck him too, them. (And then he’d giggle and give me a sinister wink.) Did I think X bottle of wine was better than Y bottle of wine? Should he wait until next paycheck to buy those expensive Gillette razor blade refills? Is that guy at the end of the isle checking him out, or me? (Of course you, Edward. You’re a Portuguese Ralph Fiennes.) Original or Wavy potato chips? Potato chips at all? Is this cute? Is this ridiculous? Would Tony (my then-boyfriend) like this? Would Kevin/Robert/Micheal/John (whomever he’d met online) like that?
Up and down every isle we’d go, pickup things, putting back things, hashing out the gripes of the day, our hopes for tomorrow, our dreams of going home. “(Dramatic sigh) Kansas City is fine,” he’d say on good days, great quivering wells brimming at his ducts, “but there’s no place like home.” P Town, that is. The furthest little curly cue at the end of the Cape Cod. A fairytale land of moonlit sand dunes, nightly drag queen shows, and “fabulous” dinner parties straight from a Martha Stewart photo shoot. One of his best friends there has been Andy Warhol’s muse; his house had been home to this or that beatnik or famous so-and-so.
“Oh, Anuhea. You, too. You must miss Maui soso much.” And the more he said it, the more I did (if such a thing were possible). So, I’d tell him of my country shangrila; of spending whole days on the reefs of Makena as a kid, or knowing Poli Poli trails by heart.
We’d both be crying by the time we hit the seasonal isle, the heady smell of mass-produced snow globes/plastic cherubs/pool toys/ceramic turkey candle holders telling us it was time to go.
He always left with liquor. Me too, usually. And razor blades, on non-rent checks. Potato chips when we’d worked through lunch in the summertime. And People magazines, if he was moonlighting at his super’s office at The Neptune Apartments (“apartment,” in his East Coast accent, always said with a silent “r” and stretched-out short “a”).
But we no matter what, we always left with candy orange slices. It was the one thing that was outside of opinions (whatever they were worth), exempt from discussion. When they went on sale, we’d clean them out, no questions asked. When it was slow at the store he’d open up a bag, walk up to me with his decidedly heel-toe step and say, “Oh, Anuhea. You know you want an ahrange. They’re fabulous.”
As was the plan, two years after moving to Kansas City, I moved home to Maui. It was Edward’s plan to move home to P Town, but the last time I spoke with him, he just sighed dramatically and said, “Oh, Anuhea. I don’t know when I’ll ever get home.” He was broke, of course. And we still had that in common.
Last week Wednesday, I went to a (Martha-eat-your-heart-out) dinner party at my friend Jen’s house. Jen could win one of those Food Network shows with her eyes closed, so bringing a dish is really a waste of resources. So, I brought vodka. And, candy orange slices.
I’d bought the candy just because Edward had been on my mind, though it’d been months since we’d last spoke (he was mad at me for not telling him I had cancer, and that he’d found out on Facebook). Jen had the genius to stick a slice on the rim of our glasses like garnish, and I thought, “Oh, Edward would love that,” making a mental note to give him an overdue call.
But I didn’t. And Edward died that night. Maybe. Maybe the night before, maybe the night after. No body knows (said the text message that informed me). He was alone. In his apartment with the silent “r” and the stretched-out short “a.” Hopefully, with a bottle of vodka, a good shave, People magazine and an empty bag of candy ahranges.
Anu Yagi: Nothing rhymes with orange. September 23 at 3:27pm
Randy Bartlett likes this.
Rick Lewis: it’s a stretch… how bout storage September 23 at 3:31pm
Gina Wong: porridge September 23 at 3:38pm
Jill Fruehan: I was thinking porridge too! September 23 at 3:43pm
Arissa Molina: It doesn’t rhyme, but it’s close enough when you make the end letters sound like “nge”; foreign, boring, forage, porridge, door-hinge, score bench, Mormon, chorus, swordfish September 23 at 3:49pm
Anu Yagi: @Arissa, I like “Mormon(ge)” best! And dang if door-hinge isn’t a good one, too September 23 at 3:51pm
Jill Fruehan: door- hinge! perfect! September 23 at 3:52pm
Chris Skiles: Good use of google search there, Arissa. Nothing rhymes with “silver” either, apparently. September 23 at 4:09pm
Rick Lewis: I rather like door hinge too September 23 at 4:11pm
Taio Riots:Floorange. September 23 at 4:31pm
Jill Fruehan: I need a new orange door hinge. September 23 at 4:36pm
Erin Smith: That’s just not enough words. We still need more(ange). September 23 at 4:43pm
Rick Lewis: Well there was a basketball player on the Celtics I believe who’s name was Danny Ainge. September 23 at 4:58pm
Anu Yagi: Ha, @Harrison! I had to look that up… http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Porange September 23 at 5:10pm