Liz and Vic talk about Vic’s conflict with Molly. Liz longs to speak her truth, but that old devil fear squelches her voice.
I’d been at Whaler for a year and a half when, in February of 1985 (ten years to the day after my palm reading by Aurora) Vic sat at the back desk, peeling an orange. Freshly shaved, he smelled like Ivory soap. I wished I’d dabbed on some provocative perfume. We were talking about Fred, a henpecked fireman whose wife made him brush the cat’s teeth, and how Fred avoided home chores by volunteering for overtime every chance he got.
“Why doesn’t Fred tell his wife to let the vet do it?” I asked.
Vic shrugged. “He needs to grow a backbone, speak his mind. Pussyfooting around ain’t no good way to live.”
“I hate to admit it, but sometimes I pussyfoot, too.”
“Oh?” Vic raised an eyebrow. “How so?”
How would Vic react if I told him what a wimp I was? Nervously, “If I speak up to my boyfriend Billy, he yells. Then I clam up.”
Vic shook his head. “Don’t let nobody shut you up or put you down.”
Definitely a wimp. I stuttered, “You…you’re…right, of course.”
Vic bit into a section of orange and handed some juicy slices to me. The sweet taste exploded in my mouth. “Take me now.” He pointed at his chest. “I got no problem saying no. Take my girlfriend Molly. I poured a can of oil on top of her car.”
Oh no. Maybe he’s more like Billy than I thought. “You did what?”
Vic said she’d borrowed a hundred dollars, promising to give it back on payday. Then she reneged, saying he made more money than she did.
“I told her she’d need more than a hundred bucks to clean up her car if she didn’t give me back my green. She laughed, said, ‘You’ll get over it.'”
“Wow. What are you more upset about, her breaking a promise or the money?” Molly must be nuts to risk losing Vic like that.
Vic rubbed his chin. “The promise. I was still steamed before I left for work, so I…”
“Look, I can see why you got angry.”
He frowned. “She pissed me off.”
“She ought to apologize, promise not to break a promise again.”
He nodded. “Yep, that’s what she should do. That’s what you’d do. Am I right, Liz?”
My cheeks heated up. “If I thought I’d done wrong. Maybe she was low on dough?”
“Yep. Low down, too. She comes bopping into my pad with…” he imitated a woman’s voice and gestures, “…three totally cool outfits from Liberty House. Bought with my green!”
“Still, I’m surprised you’d do such a thing.”
Vic thought this over, finally said, “You’re right. That stunt was beneath me. I’ll apologize to Molly, clean up her car.”
Vic listens to me! I wish Billy would. Shaking my head, “Broken promises, broken trust. Silly girl…”
“I like talking to you.”
I flushed, stuttered, “Di…ditto for me, Vic.”
He smiled and did his styling walk out the door. Aurora’s words echoed through my mind, and I wondered if dreams really do come true.