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CHAPTER THREE
Life, Love, And A Letterman's Jacket

Our relationship was always a bit rocky. I never suspected that I could actually have a normal one, with my total and utter distrust for humanity. She, however, really managed to sway me towards socialism. Not in a political sense though. Not that it’s a bad set up though; I mean Socialism does have its merits. It’s like Communism but with no Stalin, and a better dental plan. Anyhow, she took me out to her parties and showed me off to her friends, who had a whole gothic fetish sort of vibe going on. They were totally not into my scene of thrift store, holes in my jacket, chic. Winter never seemed to really care what they thought though, and occasionally even took me shopping at an old mom and pop second hand place whose dumpster I rummaged through every so often. We had our good times, and she even managed to make me smile, more often than not, but that’s not to say we didn’t have our bad times too. We’d fight over lots of things like how she always left the peanut butter out, she had quite the affliction for it you see, or how I liked to lock myself in a room and write for days on end, which caused me to be absent from some apparently important social events and even worse from my job as a security guard at one of the local morgues. After that there was the whole, I don’t make any money so it’s up to her to pay the rent sort of thing. Oh, did I mention we were living together? Yeah, about a month after we first met I sort of got kicked out of my apartment. It was another of those not paying the rent things. She invited me to move in with her, which would have been wondrous had not for the fact that her building got condemned. We set out and found another place, just a block away, which was fairly cheap and fairly nice. A person had just been murdered there, so we got a pretty good deal. Back to the subject at hand, we still made it as a somewhat decent couple and the sex was never anything short of fantastic. She said it was me, but I could have sworn it was her. I guess we were just highly compatible in that particular form.

I remember this one time when I made us both a picnic lunch. I went to her place of work; you know that nutty smut shop down at 23 rd and Vine. I went down there and surprised her, just as she got off. She was delighted, and I was rather pleased myself. It was a beautiful summer afternoon, which I hate writing about because the snow is whipping around outside like there’s no tomorrow, and it seems I wasn’t the only one who’d had this idea. There were plenty of couples around, and it seemed no matter where you turned love was in the air. I tell you, if I ever went out on a day like that at this point in my life, I would have probably wound up savagely beating someone. Anyhow, we set up, the blanket and set out to eating, when Winter spotted what appeared to be two bald men making out under a tree. Her, being the fond lover of homosexuals she is, though it was so sweet of them and rather sexy. Me, being a straight but tolerant male, didn’t care too pay much attention to it, but rather to start on this delicious tuna sandwich I had brought. She poked me in the ribs and told me that I wasn’t even looking and I told her she was very right. I could feel her starring down at me with disapproval and, not wanting to start a fight on an otherwise perfect day, glanced over. That’s when I noticed that one of the men had breasts. I told her as such, and after a bit of a look, she managed to seem them. Now you may think, how hard is it to see breasts? Well they were very small, let me assure you, and she was a pretty manly woman. I guess the man must have done something or other to offend her too, although she had appeared to love it a second ago, because she clambered up, causing some kind of disturbance, and stormed off.

Winter felt bad for the poor fellow whose person we now knew was a lady, had left him. She suggested that perhaps we should offer him some of our lunch, and a friendly hand. Luckily for him, and for us, I had packed extra just in case so I whole-heartedly agreed. Which means I must have been in a terribly happy mood. We got up, grabbed our stuff, and started moving over the rolling green fields to meet him. As we got closer we saw him in more detail. He was looking extremely nonchalant; especially considering his make out partner had just left him. His shiny head would have glistened in the sun, I’m sure, had he not been sitting under that tree. His thick-framed Buddy Holly glasses caught a reflection from somewhere though, making it difficult to see his eyes, not that I was particularly interested. It’s also of note that his suit had a couple grass stains, but they were hardly noticeable, seeing as how it was black. Black tends to hide stains, or at least that’s what they tell me. Which is why I never wear white. That, and, I spilt coffee all over my only white shirt, and my mother threw it out on one of her periodical visits. Anyways, we sat down and talked with him. His name was Len and it turns out he had just met the girl about ten minutes ago in this very same park, and really wasn’t concerned about anything she had to say. He just liked making out with butch women. We were instantly delighted by this eccentric fellow and became fast friends. I know, you are wondering about how I said the bartender was my only friend now, or how I said I only had two friends before. Okay, I had two friends throughout elementary and high school, and then we split up, and then I got a girlfriend, which led to me getting this one other friend. Happy now? Things all set? Can I finish my little antic dote? Good. Anyhow, he was a great guy, but should have probably cared about his tough women more because about three months after we met he sort of disappeared without a trace, except for some muddy booted foot prints we found leading to his apartment. He was very missed.

Winter, having a spare key to his place, and me decided to go through his things and see if there was anything interesting we could keep. There was indeed. He had a lovely collection of records and comic books and furniture and food and bedspreads and this great piano that Lord only know how he got in the place and various other odds and ends. Most of the stuff we ended up selling, except the food, which we ate, and the comics and records, of which I sold off slowly, and only because I would keep getting to points where I had no food or money. Oh, and Winter wanted the piano. I forgot about the piano. There was one other thing that I took from that place. A mysterious letterman’s jacket. Now, neither of us had ever seen Len wear it, since he only wore what appeared to be the same black suit every single day, occasionally tossing on a brown trench coat, both of which were currently missing I might add. Anyhow, it was a dark brownish green, with white leather sleeves and a large white L on the front. Nothing else really indicated where it was from, but because of the L we just assumed he had it custom made or something. It seemed an odd thing to have, but I decided to try it on. I’ve worn it nearly every day since. Sure, it’s ratty but it’s oh so comfortable. And surprisingly warm.

And that’s how I got one of my staple articles of clothing. The other, being a delightful blue and black striped scarf, I was given at birth. I believe it was used as swaddling when I was a baby, but I eventually started just wrapping it around my neck. It looked rather silly as a child, since it was obviously way too big for me, but I’ve since grown into it. I do so love this scarf, but it has caused its fair share of pain, both physically and emotionally. This scarf is what made Winter die.

This is one of those metaphors again, now isn’t it? I guess I really do use them a lot. Who can help it? They just appear in every day speech like magic. I guess it’s true what they say about how you shouldn’t take anything literally these days. I’m not sure who they are though, but I’m sure they are somebody and somebody probably said that before. In any event, I suppose I should give a run down on what happened surrounding Winter’s actual death. You see it was a regular day, and I had just kissed her, said goodbye, and sent her off to work. She walked to the corner, like always, and pushed that little button that supposedly makes the lights hurry up and change or something, but I’ve never though it did anything at all except make you feel like you aren’t just standing around like a dope. I watched her go, with a light heart, and blew her a kiss, which she gingerly received. Now she wasn’t far away. When I said walk to the corner, I only meant a few steps, since the corner is right on where we lived. I swear that if my scarf hadn’t caught on the gate to the grounds I would have been able to save her. What happened though was more like me strangling myself, while being forced to watch the love of my life get run down by some maniac. And then by the cops. The second one was an accident, but I’m sure the first didn’t care either way. I later learned that the person in the first car had just robbed the store she worked at. I don’t know if that’s really a case of irony, but it certainly was a coincidence. Anyhow, I unhooked my scarf as quick as I could, but when I got to her there really was no point, since she was pretty darn banged up. Some guy in a red something or other called the ambulance on his cell phone.

There was a horrible ride, and a wretched wait, and in the end she died and I could hardly make it to the funeral. I got to meet her Aunties Grenora and Hildie though. Those were some nice old ladies.

And I thought that would be the end of it.

But there she was.