Episode 13 – Hanging with Jewel

After more diner chit chat, Jewel wriggles out of the booth. Glances at me. “I think I’ll run some more. Wanna come?”

Jason looks perplexed. “Hey, babe…I thought you were bushed.”

She shrugs. “I am, but today’s a running day. I going all out.”

I get up with her. “I’ll tag along.”

Margot frowns. “You two are so OCD. All I’m gonna do is hang with Jason and everybody…and go to the concert.”

“Yeah,” Jason says. “I can’t get off my ass lately.” Turns to Jewel. “Come on, sit. Run later.”

“No. I’m up for it now.” She heads for the door.

I say goodbye and catch up with Jewel, who’s already on the sidewalk. “Wanna run along the river again?” I ask.

“I don’t want to run at all…just wanted to get the hell out of there.” Rolls her eyes.

“Aren’t they your friends?”

“Yes, but I get so pissed at Jason. He never asks me to go on…like, a real date…just invites me places with a thousand other people.” her voice goes husky and she tears up.

“You okay?”

“He makes me so lonely.”

I don’t know what to say. She’s obviously hung up on the guy…fuck! Then, her fingers snake into mine. “Thank goodness I met you.”

I grin happily. Figure I should make a grand gesture…like sweep her into my arms and comfort her, but I’m afraid I’ll act dumb, so I just stand there a dip shit. Figure she’ll hate me for being so…what? Distant? Stiff (I wish)? So, I end up mumbling. “Uh…wanna hang with me? We’ll find stuff to do. This is The Big Apple, right? Let’s take a bite.”

She reacts instantly. Squeezes my hand. “That’d be fantastic.”

Whoa! Didn’t expect to win her over so fast. Immediately, start plotting a make-out session somewhere…maybe more? “Let’s go to my place,” I suggest. “I need to change. My legs look so shitty in shorts.”

“No they don’t! You look really cute…but, lets go to Urban Outfitters and get cool jeans and tee shirts.”

I pat my pockets. “Shit! Forgot my wallet. What an idiot!”

“Hunter, never run without identification.What if you got hurt or mugged or something? Nobody’d know who you are.”

I shrug. “Whatever…just don’t want a big bulge in my pocket.” Then, realize what I just said. What a klutz!

She glances at my shorts…laughs. “You should talk.”

I think: Jeez, is that an invite or what? But, she ignores my open-mouthed shock.

“It’s important to have ID on you,” she says. Pulls out a credit card. “I keep this. Perfect right?”

I feel guilty about a hand-out. Shrug. “I don’t really need anything. Let’s hang in Central Park.”

“Hunter, it’s totally okay. My grandmother’s so generous it’s ridiculous.”

I still hesitate, but am a total hypocrite…I always want new stuff even though my closet’s jammed. “Well, if you insist,” I say finally. “I gotta admit…uh…shopping is one of my serious weaknesses. If I get something, I’m totally paying you back.”

“Hunter, you’re s-o-o-o funny….incredibly fit and athletic, but with this major metrosexual vibe. I love it!”

“So…I guess we’ve agreed on a serious shop?”

“Totally. Urban Outfitters is like a second home.”

We head up West End toward 72nd and Broadway…not far. I’m totally psyched. Wow! A run, shopping and a hot girlfriend…plus who knows what awaits??? What could be better.

“What are you getting first?” I ask.

“Outrageous colored jeans…orange or bright red!”

“Shit! Me too! They’re so in. Maybe lime green and tight.”

“Yeah, I like tight,” she says. “It’s easy for girls.”

“It’s weird, but I like tight. You can really feel everything.”

She smiles. “And see it.”

“Yeah…good point.”

We’re heading up Broadway. I see a street person, a girl, crouching in a doorway holding a sign. Beside her, on a bit of blanket, is a dog…a little terrier-like thing….totally motionless. I poke Jewel: “God, I hate seeing stuff like that. What’ll happen to the dog?”

“I’m totally cynical,” Jewel says. “Look at her clothes. She’s clean and neat, and that dog looks totally trained. She’s probably collecting for another trip to Bloomingdale’s.”

I’m stunned. “Wow! That’s kind of harsh.”

She shrugs. “I bet if we knew her story, we’d be totally surprised.”

“Maybe, but why would a normal person sit on the pavement all day?”

She rolls her eyes. “Hunter, look around. It’s gorgeous. Everybody’s out. Who wouldn’t want to be here? A lot of panhandlers only come out when it’s nice. Maybe she loves total freedom…or is a Buddhist who hates material things. Who the fuck knows?”

I glance back at the dog. “I worry anyway. I’m afraid that dog’ll end up in some horrible place. Lately, a lot of beggars have pets. It’s weird, but I seriously wonder if some place rents them…I definitely wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve seen a guy with six trained cats, and there’s no way he trained them.”

“I try not to analyze everything. Hurry up. We’re almost at the end of the rainbow.”

To be continued….Read next episode!