I glare at him. I was afraid.
I’m breaking up with you, I say. He opens his mouth to protest, but I shush him. There’s nothing you can say to change my mind. Not, I didn’t mean it like that, or you’re acting rashly. I’m not. Your visa expires soon. You have to go home. I’m not coming with you, Johan.He’s full of words. I can tell by the look on his face. In the end, he merely nods and walks away. I feel an immediate sense of relief.
When I go back inside and latch the deadbolt, my eyes are on my bedroom door. The light is off, which means Judah is probably already in bed. I take a quick shower and curl up on the couch with my cell phone. Then, without overthinking things, I text Judah.I vigorously chew on my lip until my cell phone chimes.I hide my face in my pillow for a second, then start typing again.
Sorry. I think he’s jealous. He showed up to check you out.His reply comes quickly.
I’m sure his jealous streak was sufficiently assuaged after he saw my wheelchair.
What difference does that make? You have bigger arms than he does.I had to be wearing my damn past on my shoulders. First Bud, now Mario. I got to go roll tires.
Mario laughed. You piss off the boss man again?Apparently I’ve pissed off the world.
Mario chortled as I walked on through to the back, where the old and new tires were stored. Some we repaired and resold as used. The ones too far gone were rolled behind the shop and heaved into a short dumpster that would be picked up by a recycler when it got full. It was a backbreaking chore, tumbling the flat and sometimes shredded tires and tossing them over the side wall.I tugged the first tire off the stack and braced it on my shoulder. It was too thrashed to wheel out, and I knew from experience to take these first, as once you got worn down, you wanted to be rolling, not lugging.