At 2pm yesterday afternoon the rain was coming down hard. I’m used to Texas rain storms, so this wasn’t a big deal for me. After you’ve been through a tornado, everything else pales in comparison. I was home and called Rick—he’s the manager of the local Headlight’s restaurant. I had just spent the last of my money paying rent and very soon I was going to have to talk to the radio station to see if I could get an advance on my next gig to pay my IRS payment. Being broke—worse than broke when you consider I’m going to have to beg or borrow money to pay the IRS—has made me decide to swallow my pride and see if Headlight’s needs another girl.
Rick was nice and came off as very professional on the phone. It made me feel better. We set up an interview for Friday. As I was saying goodbye, someone started pounding on the front door.
Ray—Liz’s Ray—has left about 20 voicemails on my phone in the last two weeks. At first I ignored them—I mean, what can I say to the guy? “Sorry, your girlfriend’s body is in limbo right now, as soon as it shows up I’m sure she will call.” Even if I was to tell him the truth he’d never believe it anyway—the curse of the Inn wouldn’t let him believe it.
So instead of returning any of his calls, I’ve emailed him. I don’t know if that helped or hurt the situation. I was very clear in my email: I don’t know where Liz is. Liz has not contacted me. From our last conversation before she left, I expect her home very soon.
That last sentence got me in lots of trouble. Ray has hounded me to know what we talk about. I don’t know what the real Liz is going to do about Ray when she finally does show up, so I am uncomfortable making up a conversation for Ray’s benefit. I decided to stop replying to Ray’s email--that was probably a mistake as well.
Which brings me back to the pounding at the door.
I looked out the window and saw Ray standing on our doorstep—no umbrella—and soaked to the skin. I was a little surprised to see him this time of the day, he should be at work. I thought about pretending to not be home, but changed my mind. Ray is as much a victim of the Inn as the rest of us; my heart goes out to the man.
I open the door—Ray stands there in the rain, his face a combination of determination and desperation.
“Ash, if you know anything about Liz, you have to tell me.”
He stood there, glaring at me, and I motion him inside. “Come in. Come out of the rain.”
I got a couple of towels from the bath and made coffee. He seemed a little more agreeable from the gesture. He put a towel on the couch and sat down. I sat across from him.
“Ray. I honestly don’t know where Liz is.” It was a half-truth. Liz as he knows her doesn’t exist right now. Hopefully the Inn will do its thing soon, and Liz will be back in her proper body.
“But you have to know something.” He was insistent.
“Nothing that’s going to help you, I swear.”
“Please, I’m grasping at straws here.”
I decided to take a small chance, and hope there isn’t a problem with Liz getting her form back.
“Look Ray, Liz and I had a conversation before she left. She didn’t tell me where she was going—only how long she thought she would be gone. She told me some things in confidence. If she’s not back by this weekend, I’ll tell you what we talked about. You just need to be a little more patient.”
“You really think she will be back soon?”
He leaned back on the couch, visibly deflated. “We went through a real rough patch just recently. I thought all of that was behind us.”
I lean forward and place my hand on top of his. “I know. Things will be better soon.”
“When she admitted the affair—“His voice gave out a little, his eyes were glossy, holding back tears. “When she admitted the affair it hurt like hell. But I appreciated her honesty—and it helped clear up some things between us. I thought things were better between us.”
I move to the couch and give him a hug.
“I miss her so much.” He says.
Please, whatever powers that be that control the Inn, do your thing soon, Ray is really suffering.