Crowell took a long walk down by the Charles River. The weather was cooperating, and the sun red sky was losing illumination by the minute. Crow liked to walk by the Charles when he needed to think about things. He always found it a comfort to see scullers moving up and down the seams of the river, and under the famous bridges, under blood red skies. He had never been in a predicament like the one he allowed himself to be in now. All he had to do was tell the folks at Candlewick that his friend submitted the wrong manuscript on his behalf, and that it was a mistake. Then again, he hadn’t signed with anyone as yet, and was beginning to wonder if he should keep both opportunities in play until he had at least a guarantee on one. But, he really liked C.P. Hickey and Sandy, and he hadn’t even met Lissette yet. He felt like he was betraying a trust. This was the first time in his life that he really didn’t know what to do. Under normal circumstances, he would call up Danny and ask him out for a few beers, but Danny was part of the problem. There was one other person that would know what to do, but he couldn’t bring himself to contact her. The last time they spoke, they said words that could not be unsaid, and they parted harshly. It took him a very long time to get over it. Ironically, the very manuscript that was causing him so much anguish, was inspired by his relationship with Brinda. He had spent years avoiding it, but then one day, the damn burst, and he was able to write with purpose and catharsis. Danny had no idea that the manuscript story was based on his relationship with Brinda and the troubles that followed their break-up. Actually, he was quite surprised he didn’t pick up on it. Sometimes Danny had a way of glossing over the things he didn’t want to see. Perhaps, that was his way of protecting Crow. He knew how much the break-up affected him.
As Crow reached the end of his walk, he realized that he was hungry, and he decided to go the Border Café in Harvard Square. Many of his buddies would bust his balls for wanting to go there so regularly, but it didn’t matter, he ate there despite them. He could get cheap eats there, and they totally satisfied him. He would start with the bowl of chili, and follow it up with either the chicken tacos, or the chicken fajitas. He also loved getting the bowls of chips and salsa. He had his first date with Brinda there, and it was there go to comfort spot. She always had these awful salsa burps after they would eat there. But he didn’t care, it made him adore her more. They celebrated her graduation from the Harvard Extension School there. They ate there after they moved into their first apartment together, and it was there that she told him that she couldn’t “do it’ anymore. Although, she never seemed to explain exactly what “doing it” meant. Despite all that, Crow couldn’t tear himself away from there. He often went on Tuesday nights, and after he would eat, he would sneak over to Club Passim nearby, in hopes of seeing her perform at an open mike. She never showed up. Not once.
After eating, he ordered an UBER, and waited for its arrive. In thinking about Brinda, he almost forgot his problem. He clicked on the contacts icon on his phone, and scrolled to her name. It seemed to float there in the queue and have a life of its own. He wondered if she changed her number. In all the time since they had broken up, he never once tried to call her. He had tried to write to her many times, but the letters always came back “RTS”.
He went to close the application and he hit the call button by mistake, it rang. His heart was in his throat. He negotiated with himself to hang up after one ring, then it was two rings, then it happened…