That's my new code phrase with Dawn. She showed up on my doorstep Sunday night and asked if she could stay over. "Sure," I said. Then I thought twice and asked, "What's up?"
"I did something bad," she told me.
"Go work it out with your parents and come back," I said. She didn't come back. Not for a whole day. Ouch. I will spare us all the drama associated with that.
Tonight we sat for a good long while on my back porch talking. She explained some of what happened over the weekend. More teen pushing-the-envelope stuff. Nothing really all that earth-shaking in the grand scheme, but as we talked about last night, we live in a neighborhood (and a time, and a world) where small mistakes can have much bigger consequences than anyone could imagine.
I suggested we need a way to make sure I get it when she needs me as much as she did Sunday night.
"So I should just tell you, right?" Dawn said.
"Yeah, but that's hard to do when you're stressed out, right?" She nodded.
"So, how about a code phrase? Like, if you come over and say, 'I need a vacation,' then I'll know I should just drop everything and let you in." She laughed. It seems like she liked it. Hope it works if there's a next time. Better yet, I'm really hoping there's not a next time, at least not quite like this last one.
We also talked about the other problem that made me hesitant to open the door last night. I asked my tenant to leave today. I think I posted earlier that he seemed like less trouble than Hurricane Alberto. Well, he was, except he drinks. A few hours before Dawn showed up on my doorstep, my now ex-tenant had been sitting there too drunk to move. He came in the house eventually and wanted to chat. Pretty quickly I had a sense of deja vu so strong I just snapped out with, "I grew up in a house with a drunk. I swore I'd never live that way again. You have to move out!"
"Oh, wow," he said, and left me alone.
Although I was pretty sure he was sleeping it off by the time Dawn showed up, it was the only night I've been here that I wasn't sure it was safe for her to be in the house. He left today. I had actually given him a month's notice through a note this morning, but he just went ahead and took off.
I need a vacation. Seriously, no code about it. And I'm leaving for one pretty soon. I was hoping to have someone in the house while I was gone. There's been a rash of break-ins around the neighborhood recently. My other next-door neighbors were broken into this afternoon. Well, one good thing about knowing neighbors is there are a number of eyes on the house when I'm not here.
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