Sometimes people enter your life briefly, but they stay with you forever. Randy is one of those people that I did not appreciate as someone truly significant in my growth as a person until years after he’d come and gone from my life.
Randy taught me to not be so selfish and read between the lines before I judged people and situations because actions speak louder than words.
If you’d been keeping up with the Diamonds and Rust Series, you’ll know that at seventeen, I went to St Thomas on vacation and decided to stay there for several years. Believe it or not, it was not as simple as it sounds.
I had four days left before I was going to be kicked out of my luxurious room at Hotel 1929, and of course, I’d blown most of my money on that vacation. I needed a job and a place to stay that didn’t require a hefty security deposit, and I needed both fast because had I just sold my plane ticket home.
I didn’t realize when I made my decision that getting a job on the island was nearly impossible because it was not unusual for thousands of other adventurers to do a vacation runaway. Because vacation runaways were so common, business owners were weary of newcomers who got island fever after a month, leaving them high and dry without notice.
I would have to make some sacrifices to make my money stretch until I found a job. A slice of pizza with the works went for two bucks, and it became my one meal of the day. As I sat in the pizza parlor reveling in my one meal, I was approached by a guy with two Cokes.
"I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there,” he said, placing one of the sodas on front of me.
"What? You know I’m broke and desperate, but not so desperate that I’d sell my body for a Coke? But hey, thanks anyway.” I replied sucking up half the drink because I was thirsty and didn’t want to pay the quarter for a cup of water.
“I didn’t mean it to sound like that,” he laughed. “Can we start over? I’m Randy.”
Okay, Randy was cute. I let sit down with me. After I ate my meal, we started talking while we walked up Main Street as he conducted his business. Randy was one of those guys who hands out flyers and free samples from the shops. He was very friendly and likeable. He had a cute monkey puppet that he walked along the street to break the ice so he could direct tourists to his shop clients.
I thought that was an absolutely brilliant way to make contacts and earn a living. Randy asked me if I wanted in the loop to get started, but I wasn’t as good at that kind of thing. But Randy was good at creating jobs. He introduced me to a man who could use a pretty girl to draw customers down the alley to his bars. I became his barker for twenty bucks a day, and stood at the end of an alley inviting folks and sailors to ice cold pina coladas.
My last day in the hotel ended with a hot shower because I didn’t know if I’d be sleeping on a bench that night. But once again, Randy came through for me. He had asked around and found there was a room available with a bed but no screens or windows. I also had to cross an open sewer to get in the front door, and I had to share a bathroom with a dozen people. It was just right until I realized that if I didn’t keep the shutters closed at night, sailors would think I was a saleable object. No big, I had a mattress and shutters were easy to close.
I didn’t know where Randy went at night, and it got lonesome and boring in the room at night. I asked him over tons of times, but he always said he had more work to do. I was beginning to wonder why he wasn’t make moves on me. He seemed interested, but never even tried to even hold my hand.
Randy did however, eventually relieve my boredom and showed up one day with a TV set. Then when he found out I had a serious rat problem, he gave me a kitten that despite his equal size to the rats was quite efficient.
As time went on, I just assumed Randy didn’t have any interest in me as a girlfriend or lover. I started hanging out in the bar that I barked for since I had been given discount privileges there. After awhile, I met another guy. I started spending my lonely nights at his house and ultimately decided to give up my room because he asked me to move in with him.
I caught up with Randy on his daily rounds. I told him that I had met somebody and was moving.
“Great,” he told me, “I’m glad for you.”
That was the one and only time that I had not seen Randy smile. My heart sank.
“I’ll see ya around.” Randy said, turning away and walking off with his puppet up in his arms.
It’s a small island, and that was the last time I saw Randy.
Randy’s name has been changed. If he recognizes himself…hey.