Chapter XIV: Movies and Surprises

For their second date Harwood invited Dilly to the movies. He wasn’t the biggest fan of that particular art form, he had a TV at home that he barely ever watched, the last time he saw a movie was probably back in Bridgeport. But as dates go he didn’t have a better idea, sure they could always go have drinks at the Red but Harwood felt he owed it to Dilly to try something different. And that is how he found himself in front of Twinbrook’s only theater buying to tickets to an artistic film: “Weeping with Irony” and looking forward to the projection itself.

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There was something captivating about Dilly Pidgin, she was a strong woman who couldn’t care less what anyone thought, she was charismatic and enjoyed art. She had graduated in Simlish and came back here to her hometown, Twinbrook, to work as a lector for the local paper. She also loved books, old classics mostly, but she admitted she would walk down to the bookstore and indulge in something written in the current century. Harwood found the passion she talked about books so endearing, he could spend hours just listening to her.

She had also listened when they were touring the museum and he was talking to her about the artwork they had on display. It was different than it was with Pattina….  Pattina knew about art as much as he did, Dilly didn’t, but she was willing to learn, to listen. Harwood mentioned he was a sculptor before but he didn’t go into details. Somehow he didn’t feel like talking about that part of his past, it felt as if the longer he stayed here in Twinbrook the further he went from that Harwood Clay… He felt more as an acquaintance, someone he used to know long ago… This was his life now, drinking and playing his guitar at the Red, having thug wars with Rookie, and going to the movies with a charming, unmarried lady with pink in her brown wild hair.

The movie was a bust. Halfway through Harwood found himself yawning. He tried to be inconspicuous although the hall was mostly empty, save for the two of them. He threw a glance at Dilly wondering if she liked the movie, and if so what she made of his yawning. She looked back at him and smiled as they eyes met. “Let’s get out of here.” She whispered softly into his ear. Harwood felt his skin prickle at the light touch of her warm breath and was eager to listen to her. He took her hand into his and they walked out of the room. He headed towards the door that would lead them out to the Twinbrook street but Diilly stopped him freezing in place, her hand still in his. “Where is the rush?” She asked throwing a charming smile his way. Harwood lifted his eyebrows inquisitively and she cocked her head to the right.

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They headed that way walking deeper into an empty hallway, then through an unlocked door to a stairwell, and then down a pair of seemingly unkempt stairs. Harwood had to hold the wall with one hand so he wouldn’t fall down. He figured for a man his age a fall like this could very well be fatal “Might I ask where are we going?” Harwood asked cautiously taking another step after his date.

“There are some old dressing rooms this way.” Dilly said without looking at him. Harwood didn’t ask why they were going to the dressing rooms he only followed blindly.

“And how do you know that?” He asked instead.

“I was part of an amateur summer acting group back when I was a teenager.” Dilly replied. “We used to practice and perform here.” They finally reached a door and Dilly tried it but it wouldn’t budge. He was about to say the door were probably locked and they shouldn’t be here when Dilly pushed into them with her shoulder and it opened with a loud noise. He walked slowly behind her into the dark room. She tried a switch but the light wouldn’t come on. She just shrugged as she closed the door behind them. There was a stale smell to the room and Harwood guessed every surface must have been covered in layers of dust. But he didn’t have time to think it over because Dilly came closer to him whispering:

“We won’t need a light for this anyway….” She placed her hand on his chest. Harwood was unsure what to say, but it didn’t matter because Dilly closed his mouth with a kiss and all words disappeared from his head.

Dilly was fun like that. And she made Harwood happy. It was easy to put the past behind him and for once not worry about anything, and just live, in the present  once again. Everything was great, perfect even if Harwood dared to say.

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Then one late morning his phone rang dragging him back once again… He had slept in that day, he and Dilly were at the Bayless house, down in the swamp, Gwayne, Dilly’s coworker was having a party and they went together, as an item. His phone woke him however and he got up quickly, still in his undies and reached for the phone. He was about to pick up when he saw who was calling. Pattina Knack….  He took a deep breath, steadying his beating heart and pressed the button to reject the call.  He knew he should feel liberated but he only tasted bile in his throat.

It took some bonding with Rookie to clear his head and get his old flame out of his head. It had been a few weeks from that faithful morning that his phone rang again, this time it was Phoenix Prudence, a friend of his and they talked like the usually did, about a bit of this and that when out of the blue Phoenix got serious said: “Listen Harwood, there is something else I am calling about…” The nervousness in his voice made Harwood stop in his tracks. “You know I am not one to gossip or anything…. But I heard something from one of the parents in the school…. I wouldn’t bother you with this only I also heard you and the lady had a thing… And… The Knacks are getting a divorce.” He finally said. All words deserted Harwood and for a moment he could barely move.

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