Photograph image courtesy of Geraldyn Saltron

When Dennis Robinson walked back home from the library, he continued thinking about what happened. Nervous anticipation overtook him. He knew he made the wrong decision but everything was sudden and he reacted by reflex.

Every day, between the hours of ten o’clock a.m. to two o’clock p.m., he went to the Montgomery McBride Memorial Library, three blocks away from Ipswich’s main branch. The difference between Ipswitch Main Public Library and the Montgomery McBride Memorial was the type of people who went to those places. At Ipswitch, most of the patrons were working class men who tended to talk loud or spit continuously on sidewalks. At Montgomery McBride, sometimes good looking women were there. Since Dennis could not count on seeing any attractive ladies at home or in his neighborhood, he went to Montgomery McBride Memorial every day where at least one woman with pleasant features could be located. He daydreamed often of moving away from his family, the Robinson clan as he knew them. His mother, Carolyn, never married so Dennis never knew who could be his father. Carolyn said she was physically active with an approximate twenty people during the month he was conceived and she knew their first names only. Her brother, Dan, and her sister, Katha, helped with Carolyn’s raising of Dennis. Dan had a wife, Vanessa, and a daughter, Catherine.

Every member of the Robinson family was overweight except for Dennis. His mother was considered the slim one at three hundred pounds. The others were approaching the four hundred pound mark. Weight was not the worst of their problems. Carolyn smoked cigarettes every minute of the day even though she had emphysema and needed to breathe oxygen from a tube in her nose. Dan wandered through town by riding in an electric wheelchair. He would occasionally bump into people, buildings or cars and later come home with cuts and bruises on his face and body. He was hospitalized twice for injuries resulting from reckless wheelchair driving. His wife, Vanessa, never got out of bed. She watched television all day. Catherine spent all her waking hours playing video games. Katha was usually on the telephone, complaining about her imaginary aches and pains to anyone who would listen. Altogether, Dennis could not handle being around them very long.

If any of his neighbors had been friendly, he would have visited them but they acted distant and unwelcoming and he could not remember what they wore or how they appeared. In the library, he could sit down and read a book and look at the women who walked by. He was especially attracted to women who wore shirts tucked in. At Montgomery McBride Memorial Library, he spotted at least two or three women wearing tucked in shirts on any day. However, when he was there a half hour ago, he noticed a woman who became the reason for his current dilemma. She was sitting down at a table, close to the back wall where the autobiographical books were located. She was very pretty, wearing a black blazer and a white button shirt underneath. The blazer’s and shirt’s sleeves were rolled evenly together and pushed up so Dennis wondered if she wore the shirt tucked in. He noticed that some women rolled up their sleeves but wore shirts loose outside of the pants. Dennis walked past her so he could look back to see what was the case and, as he did so, she looked at him and smiled. If he looked back now, the situation would be awkward if she noticed what he tried to do. However, he took a chance and went for it. She turned her head to continue looking at him so he became nervous and looked away but, for the one second he saw her waistline, the blazer looked tucked in the jeans, not just the shirt but the actual blazer. That was one of the most intriguing things he ever observed. He figured there was a chance he noticed incorrectly. He looked at her again and she continued staring at him. He walked quickly out of the building. The right move would have been to talk with her but he was not used to starting conversations with women whom he meant to notice from a distance only. If he had talked with her, he would have been admitting what he had done. By his walking away, he felt he was making a statement that he was innocent.

Now, as he was closer to his house, he regretted his decision. He had an opportunity to talk with a good looking woman shirt tucker. She was technically a blazer tucker but she also wore a shirt so she fit either category. At home, his mother wore loose sweatshirts with gravy stains and sweat pants. His whole family wore those types of clothes. They were the total opposites of what he experienced in the library. He was making the wrong choice. Perhaps he could go back to the library and talk with the woman but that would require more effort than he wanted to spend. The safe solution was for him to go home and think about what could have happened.

Somehow, he felt on himself what seemed like her energy. When she stared at him, the vibrations from her eyes had a warmth that continued to be present. He asked himself, “What if she followed me?” He was not thinking seriously of that possibility. However, there was suddenly the sound of a person’s voice.

A woman said, “Hey.” He stopped and turned around. She was standing there, with her hand extended. She had followed him. How was that possible? He noticed her blazer was definitely tucked in. He had seen correctly. However, now he would not run away from her. He realized that doing so meant she would keep up with him. He said, “Hello.”

She said, “I saw you at the library. I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Olivia Barreto.”

He approached her and they shook hands. He said, “I’m Dennis Robinson.”


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