Other Houses Wild Card: S. for Sam

Words by Grace McCarter

Published on June 26, 2013

J. and I ate breakfast in her living room that day. Her house was above a video store, which came in handy a lot of the time because all we really did together was watch movies in bed and make love sometimes. Everything was just fine until J. told me I’d probably have to leave soon, that C. was coming home this afternoon.

Next thing you know I’m across the street at the bus stop and J. starts smiling again, the way she does to waiters or petrol station men or blokes on the street when we stop to get a video from the video store and J. says she’s tired and tells me to go in and pick one we’ll both like, because I know exactly what kind of film she means. But it’s not really how she smiles at me anymore because now there’s an Audi in the driveway and I’m out of the picture, completely out of it.

I remember one time late at night, I came out of the video store and J. was standing with her shoulders all up around her ears and her hands bent almost into fists but not quite. I asked her what was going on and she pointed to a guy all the way up the footpath, about to cross the road, and said that the guy sat next to her and pulled his dick out.

So what I did do was I chased after that arsehole.

There were no cars around and I kept running, with J. chasing after me, and by that time the fella noticed me and started to leg it. I looked back at J., got distracted and tripped over the gutter, and hit the concrete. Got myself right on the nose, and one of my hands was pretty raw as well.

J. bent over me like she was looking at an insect on the ground, not crouching down too far like she cared too much. She said she didn’t mean for me to chase the guy, and that’s not what she wanted when she’d told me what happened.

She told me to get up, please.

She asked me why I ran after the guy, and that made me mad so I kept lying on the ground.

She took me home and lay me on the floor in her hallway where they kept the first aid kit, next to the rack where her husband’s coat and briefcases and shined shoes usually went, but C. wasn’t there that day. J. said I should’ve stayed with her and I didn’t argue. After hanging around J. a lot I’d learned that my name starts with an S. for Sam, not a C., and that there’s a lot I don’t understand because I can be pretty stupid sometimes.