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The remainder of the weekend passed quietly for Sandy. She didn’t see or hear from Ginger and assumed she was probably hung over and feeling a little embarrassed about Country Connections fiasco. Knowing she would see her at work on Monday, Sandy decided to leave Ginger to her own devices until then. “I know if it were me, I’d be embarrassed at my own stupidity,” she thought.
Monday morning proved her wrong. Ginger showed up at the office as bubbly and perky as usual, as though she hadn’t a care in the world. When they actually had a chance to chat at lunch, Sandy asked her friend how she was feeling about things.
“About what things?” Ginger asked with a puzzled look.
“About the fact that you left Country Connections drunk with some guy who passed out on top of you, and you had to walk back to town at 3:00 a.m.
“Oh, that. Shit happens,” Ginger retorted, “and I wasn’t that drunk.”
“You were beginning to slur your words, and he was staggering, for Pete’s sake.” Sandy was getting a little frustrated with her friend.
“If he hadn’t passed out, we probably would have had a good time,” Ginger added.
“Or, he might have murdered you and dumped your body in a swamp!” Sandy couldn’t believe Ginger was defending her behavior.
“Now you’re being ridiculous! No way anything like that would have happened. He was harmless—just horny and a little too high on hops.”
“I hope you’re right. I would have hated for you to be the Monday morning headline in the Press Herald,” Sandy said. “I would never have been able to forgive myself for letting you leave with him.”
“Hold on, there, girlfriend! You are not responsible for me. I take care of myself and expect you to do the same. No way to I expect you to play “housemother” and tell me what I can and can’t do.”
“Okay. Whatever you say,” responded Sandy, quietly. She knew it wouldn’t do any good to point out to her friend that she’d been the one who called Sandy at 3 in the morning in tears. Ginger was defensive and Sandy didn’t want to make the situation worse between the two of them. She decided to change the subject, and the two friends chatted about work and their kids for the rest of their lunch break.
When she returned to her office, Sandy thought about what Ginger had said. Maybe it was her “small town” upbringing, where people looked out for each other that influenced her thinking. Ginger was more of an independent ‘city girl’ and was used to taking care of herself. She obviously resented Sandy’s concern and saw it as interference, so maybe it would be best if in the future, she left Ginger to her own devices, and let her make her own decisions.
After work, on her way to pick up Kim and Danny at their after school sitter’s, Sandy pulled in to the Exxon station to gas up the Volkswagen. As she put the pump nozzle into the opening of the car’s gas tank, a large black Tahoe pulled in on the other side of the island. A tall man with curly black hair tinged with silver and a vaguely familiar face stepped down from the vehicle and proceeded to remove the cap from the fuel intake. When he turned toward the pump and saw Sandy, he smiled broadly and said, “Hi there!”
When she responded with a quizzical look, he extended his hand. “Woody Blackstone. I nearly trampled you at Country Connections last Friday night.”
“Of course! How could I forget?” responded Sandy as the signs of recognition spread over her face. She shook his hand and said, “I’m Sandy Miller.” Just then, the nozzle clicked, telling her the gas tank on the VW was full. She returned the nozzle to its slot on the pump, and went inside the station to pay for her purchase. When she returned, Woody was still pumping gas into the Tahoe’s huge tank. She climbed behind the wheel of her car and drove away.
Woody watched her car disappear around a curve in the road, realizing he’d been practically snubbed by a good-looking woman, maybe for the first time in his life. It took him by surprise.