Rosa was on the phone when I quietly knocked at the door and walked into the room. The lights were low and the blinds were down. It took a second for my eyes to adjust to the darkness in the middle of the day. The place was wrecked, shoes were haphazardly kicked off in a pile by the door and clothes were crumpled on the floor. A box of fried chicken was on the table next to a Big Gulp drink with napkins and ketchup packets mixed in with a stack of mail.
Rosa sat straight up, stiff as a board, in an old brown reclining chair. She wore a nubby bathrobe and her short, dark hair stuck out in every direction like she was just seriously electrocuted and should be on the way to the hospital instead of sitting in a chair furiously scribbling away at a notebook.
As I approached, it was clear that she deep into something messy.
“I’ll come back later,” I whispered, not one to interrupt unless it was absolutely necessary, and started to retreat towards the door. Rosa held up a pudgy finger, indicating for me to wait one minute.
“Ok, I’ll call back tomorrow and speak with the officer,” she growled into the phone.
Angrily shaking her head, she looked up at me with one eye to ensure that I hadn’t snuck out as she made final arrangements for her appointment tomorrow.
Ending the call, she dropped the phone onto the notebook on her lap with a disgusted sigh.
“Sounds like I don’t have a car anymore.”
She waited with a dramatic pause, gauging my interest.
Unable to resist the bait, I took the hook, line and sinker, and casually asked for clarification.
“What in the world happened, Rosa? I didn’t even know that you had a car.”
“First, do you think I can drive right now with my legs like this?”
I scanned her face, she was serious, and then dropped my eyes to her painfully swollen feet and legs poking out from underneath of her long bathroom.
“No, I don’t. Shouldn’t those be propped up?”
She ignored the question and continued.
“Well, I didn’t think so either, but I just learned that my car was traveling the wrong way on a one way street back in my home town, crashed into a few parked cars and was then abandoned on a side street and the police wanted to know if it was me.”
“So, you did have a car?”
“You’re really hung up on that, yes, I had a car back home. I left the keys with my roommate for emergencies only and now he is missing and my car is in the junk yard.”
Her dark eyes flashed with anger, “Excuse, I need to make some more phone calls.”
The next day, her door was open as I passed by in the hallway. Light streamed in from the windows and the clutter was gone. Her shoes were lined up, her clothes were put away and there was no trash to be seen. Her hair was pulled neatly back with a wide headband displaying a pair of very dainty, unpierced ears. She scrolled through images on her phone and laughed to herself. Noticing my shadow darkening her door, she waved.
“Hey girl, come on in. What’s going on today?”
I wanted to ask the same thing of her regarding the grand theft auto situation but held my tongue.
“Wondering about my car?” she asked.
Feigning shock at her mind reading ability, I confirmed her suspicions with a nod and again took the bait.
She threw her hands up with a smile, “We worked it out. He knows what he did was wrong, but there’s no use fighting over it or staying mad. I can’t afford to waste my energy like that, if I didn’t forgive him hate would build up and stay right here,” she lightly pounded at her chest with her fist.
“Right here,” she emphasized.
“It would make me sick when I am in here trying to get better, to be better.”
Unable to stop myself, I gushed with partially informed questions.
“But if you drop it, how will you get him to pay you? Will insurance cover the damages? What did you tell the police? What did he tell you? How will you get around?”
In the midst of this flurry of questions, there were two questions that I didn’t ask but most wondered about the answers, how and why did you forgive him?
She held her hand up to stop the questions, “I’ll figure that stuff out. Its going to be ok.”
Reassuringly, she nodded and patted my hand.
“Really, its going to be ok.”
Suddenly, I was left with a sad emptiness where a surrogate anger had rushed out, like water from a broken cup. There is another way to get better, to be better, and it starts with deciding to put the sword away.