Here comes another swing. Wait for it …
I decided it was time to buy a new car. My Pontiac sounded like it had a black lung disease, and living in South Florida had opened my eyes to the world of wheels beyond General Motors and Ford. As an early Christmas present to myself, I picked out a white, 1994 Honda Civic sedan. It was a personal reward for managing my finances like a responsible adult—banking a few thousand dollars in tips while working and going to school full-time. Did Raul help me negotiate the purchase? Nope. Big Gay Mark who doinked Robert did.
“Let’s break this puppy in!” Raul laughed, then begged me to let him drive. I sighed and shook my head until he ripped the keys from my palm. Raul always drove my car. We headed to Society Hill—our usual spot—wearing our South Beach clubbing clothes. “Are you sure my car will be okay here?” I said, looking up at a beaten metal “no parking” sign on Euclid Street. “It’ll be fine. I’ve been parking here for years,” he replied.
When we returned from our usual barstools, my jaw dropped. There was only pavement and a curb left in my spot. No car. Not only did I have to cough up the $225 to get the car released from the impound yard, I also had to pay the $50 cab ride to get us back to my apartment to get additional paperwork to prove the car was mine because it only had temporary plates. “I wish I could make it up to you, baby, but I don’t know how,” he said, while we stood in line at 3 a.m. with a dozen other mad people whose Saturday nights had been ruined by a tow truck. The fine line between carefree and careless had been crossed again. I didn’t speak to him for a week, but he finally smooth-talked his way back into my apartment. Raul was always good at apologies, partly because they always involved him nibbling on my neck.