I hear a car outside. I'm sitting in the chair in the living room, watching the ball game. The car has a particularly loud sort of grumble -- might need a muffler -- and it misses here and there. I look at my husband and say, "D'you hear that car outside? It sounds like...." and he says "Don't even start!" And I say "Yep -- 3:30, four in the morning. It's the same car." It is, in fact, the car driven by whomever delivers the newspapers in our neighborhood. Ron and I have both been awakened by this car, many many times -- from a distance as it approaches on the next block, pausing near the intersection for a moment -- stopping again a few houses up the street -- stopping just past our place by the Mormons' house, whereabouts there must be several subscribers. Because he just SITS there. As we lay awake, wishing that car would go away.
As I said, we both know exactly what that car sounds like, but of course we've never seen it. So up I get, and go stand in the front door, staring down the street as the paperboy's car idles loudly in the middle of the road. It's about three in the afternoon -- what's he doing down there? The passenger side door is open. It's a two-door Volkswagon convertible, red with a white top. Someone's feet seem to be dangling out the door. What the hell?
I stand and watch. "Sweetie, be careful." Says my husband. He says it again. "Huh?" I respond. Is he worried the paperboy is a gangster? "It's your skirt," he says, "You really need a slip under that." Ah. "What's he doing?" Asks Ron. I speculate -- maybe he's changing a fuse under the dashboard, and had to open the passenger door for his feet. "With the engine running, in the middle of the road?" Good question. Hmm.
Then suddenly, a body is attached to the feet. And it's... a girl. It's Margarita! The neighbor's teenaged daughter, who attends a Catholic school during the week. This apparently hasn't dissuaded her from snogging the paperboy, though, which is obviously what she's up to. I can see her playing a little slap-n-tickle with him on the driver's side. He's dropping her off, on a Sunday afternoon, on Father's Day. She is not in a hurry, and her hair is a mess. Yipes. Whee.
Finally, Margarita shuts the door and heads up the stairs to her front door. Paperboy watches her backside for a moment (clad in tight sweatpants), then revs his crappy little engine and putters up the road. I try to imagine how this relationship got started. Is it purely incidental, the fact that he delivers the paper on our street? Does she lay in bed at 4am, knowing she has to be up at six, and smile at the sound of his Volkswagon convertible? Did she meet him in the small hours of the clock, sleepless, sitting on her steps in a white nightie when he appeared out of the darkness in his rotten automobile -- roaring out of the dull gloom of yearning adolescence, a paper rolled up in his oversized paw?
Do her parents know? Parents of teenaged girls can't possibly sleep peacefully enough to miss the sound of the paperboy's red convertible at four in the morning.