When Lesli dropped that “Just decided to keep it” bomb, Keith couldn’t believe she hadn’t at least talked with him before making up her mind. And told her so. On the one hand, yes, it’s her body. On the other, that was him in there, too. He glared out the window.
“Are so. You’re angry because I didn’t consult you before coming to a conclusion. And I don’t blame you. Sue me. I should’ve said something and, for once, kept my opinion to myself.”
“Picked a hell of a time to do that.”
“You didn’t want me to —” She leaned close, so the driver wouldn’t hear. “You didn’t want me to have an abortion, did you?”
“Hell no!” At that the driver did glance at them in his mirror.
She nestled close. “Good.”
This woman, he thought, is going to drive me off a cliff. They got to the station and, even out here, someone recognized him. A pretty little strawberry blonde, probably about 16, sat with what likely were her parents and older brother. Gawking. Then walked over in something that resembled a trance.
Keith and Lesli were trying to figure out when they would next see each other when Lesli noticed the girl. Standing a few feet away. Staring. “Can I help you?” She hadn’t the first idea what was wrong with this moronic looking child.
The kid said to Keith, “You play guitar with Helen St. James. You play in her band. I know. I saw you on television. Can I have your autograph?”
Lesli sighed in relief. Keith smiled at the youngster, who thereupon positively beamed. “Yeah, sure. You got a pen and something to write on?” She spun and ran back to her family, yammering, animatedly gesturing.
“You sure took her a lot easier,” Keith said, “than you did Samantha Smith back at the airport in L.A.”
Lesli frowned. “I knew you were going to say something like that.” She played with his belt buckle. “Listen, I had a long talk with Mari.”
“Never mind about. Just, you can look forward to less of me getting green eyes. Okay?”
“Works for me.”
The kid came back, got her autograph, and the train came down the track. They got on, sat down and both went straight to sleep.
The trainman jostled Keith. He jostled Lesli. “Darlin’, we home.”
She stood, stretched, and Keith, with a wry smile, watched out of the corner of his eye as the trainman stared at Lesli. “Eat your heart out, good buddy.”
“Nothing. Nothing at all.” They got off the train, dropped down into Harlem. They had planned to maybe take a stroll, grab a bite before going home, but they just weren’t up to it. They grabbed a cab and hit it over to the East Side.
The cats were glad to see them. For different reasons, of course. To Butch and Sundance it meant a chance to make nuisance out of themselves to someone besides Bruno. To the ever-beleaguered Bruno it meant a welcome break. So, food and water bowls changed, the three of them settled down to chow.
Lesli said something Keith didn’t quite hear. He sort of grunted back. Next thing, they were asleep. Keith face down on the bed, Lesli in the living room, sitting propped up on the sofa.
Next week: Keith gets some distance on the relationship.
Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403.