I was sitting in the police station on a stale bench that hid sticky wads of blue and white. I sat there wearing a red shirt. and blue jeans. and some white shoes that weren’t so white anymore. there was a hole in the side. I could see my sock.
some guy called my name to pick up my belongings.
I had been bailed out by my 70 year old neighbor lady. she owned one cat, so she wasn’t quite crazy yet. but she also had birds and some fish. one was orange. like a creamsicle.
I stood up and walked over to the window. the officer was bald. he had a round head that reminded me of a gumball. I smacked my teeth instinctively. his shirt had his name on it. larry. what a typical name.
he shoved over my things. I signed a slip of paper.
one baseball cap. red like my shirt but darker like blood dripping from my nose when I fell. I touched the bridge of it. it stung with a bruise.
one pack of gum. the strips were pink, almost red. I should have stuck a piece under the bench to be patriotic.
one letter. written on a crisp white piece of paper. it was slightly wet. damp. it was raining. not just from the sky. my eyes were dry now. I stuffed the folded sheet into my front pocket.
one wallet. I didn’t even have my license yet. I rode my bike. it had two dimes. a five dollar bill. a library card. a photo of her with me. I couldn’t bear to throw it away. one of the corners was already missing.
one flashlight. it was a small one. that only fit the batteries that nobody sells except for the sketchy store at the end of the street where people smoke. and not the elegant kind of smoking that you see in the movies. the kind that gives you chills and snakes around your neck making you cough.
and lastly one book. the catcher in the rye. she had signed the inside. it was my birthday present. I could feel her hands holding it and her thumbs flicking through the pages.
I took everything and walked out to meet mrs. laverne. she shook her bony finger at me tipped with red polish.
why was everything so red?
I nodded and swore to never get sent to jail again. and I never did. I closed the door as I got into her car.
“why did you do it, harry? how could you be so foolish?”
“it was for love I suppose.”
“what do you know about love?”
my heart beat inside my chest with a skip. a broken record of sinatras greatest hits. the big red bloody organ in me ached.
I had loved her. hadn’t I?
I would never know. but I felt the ache in the pit of my heart.