So now our girl is a married woman. An adult, married in the sight of God. But she doesn’t feel like an adult: her brain, her mind feels like a grown-up’s, preoccupied with thoughts of getting to work on time, paying rent and what to make for her husband’s dinner. But her heart still feels like a hopeful, carefree 16-year-old, and she still has the smile of the little girl who got her first kiss at the age of six by MK, who ran up to her in the playground and kissed her smack on the lips before bursting into giggles and running away.
But she tells herself she’s an adult, so she adjusts her behaviour accordingly. She gets up with her husband in the mornings to make sure he has toast and coffee before he leaves for his job with a local trucking firm, carrying the packed lunch she’s made for him in one hand and her goodbye kiss on his cheek. After which she hastily dresses and heads out to her own job.
She’s working two jobs: mornings, she works as a clerical assistant for a community college. Evenings, our girl can be found waitressing at Rodney’s Inn, a hole-in-the-wall dive in the middle of the industrial section of the city that caters to truckers, steel mill workers, the guys from the Chevy and Ford plants, lonely old people and businessmen looking for a ‘dirty’ girl. The customers adore her, especially the businessmen, who offer the most outrageous inducements for one hour of her time at one of the nearby motels. But her wedding ring is her armor; she’s made it patently clear that she’s not interested, and the truckers, those big, beefy tattooed guys have all adopted her as a kind of “little sister” and are quick to deliver a thump on the head to anyone who gets out of line.
She doesn’t need to work two jobs; the money from her husband’s job and what she makes at the college is adequate. But this girl don’t do adequate – this girl is ambitious, she wants things. More importantly, she wants – she needs – to show her parents that she’s not a failure.
So for the first three months of the marriage she works like a dog to make the run-down apartment they live in into a nice home. She paints and, with her husband’s aggrieved assistance (“Why we gotta fix this place up…’s fine like it is!”) wallpapers. She haunts the second-hand shops for furniture that doesn’t look second-hand. Curtains, towels, bed linen, lamps, all lovingly picked by herself, as her spouse displayed mostly humor and disinterest. “You da woman of da house, anyway,” he says, glued to the NCAA finals on the TV. “You do it up – I trust you.”
So tiredly, happily, she shops. Determined to turn their one-bedroom unit into a proper home, and absurdly pleased that he trusts her to make all the decisions.
Poor girl…she has a lot to learn about trust.