“I want food,” I say from the backseat of my girlfriend’s luxurious car. I don’t know what kind of car it is except expensive. I always want food. Luckily, they do too.
“Let’s go to Freeway,” I suggest to Tammy and Annie who are in the front seats.
Tammy is all for it, she is from the east side and knows all about Freeway. It is the spot for breakfast after bar close. My other friend, Annie, is not from the east side. She lives waaaaaay across town in what is called the Sanctuary. And it is a sanctuary away from the hard and dirty life most of us live. I am in the car with two of the most polar opposite people you could ever imagine.
“Ok, just tell me how to get there,” Annie says. I met Annie many years ago when we worked in the same office. She was a legal secretary then. Now, she is the wife of a wealthy man. Who actually meets a millionaire on a dating site and marries them? Annie. One of her rings probably costs more than I make in a year and her heart is solid gold.
“Man, I’m so fucking hungry,” Tammy says in between drags of her electronic cigarette. She is truly one of a kind. She is covered in tattoos, always dressed like a hippie and smelling of patchouli. She is quick with a peace sign, a smile and a hug. She had a bad drug addiction for many years. She works hard at maintaining sobriety and helping other addicts. This is the first time my friends have met in person.
“I really want you to teach me yoga, Tammy.” I say trying to set up something healthy to make up for all the fattening food I’m about to eat.
“You know yoga?” Annie asks.
“Yeah, I taught that and tai chi in prison,” she replies.
“You were in prison? Oh my god, let me out of the car,” I say in mock horror. Of course I knew she had been in prison—a couple times. Annie doesn’t say anything. I can’t remember if I told her about Tammy’s past and I am trying to keep it light. Not that she would judge, she wouldn’t.
“Fuck you, bitch,” Tammy says, turning around laughing and trying to swat at me.
We arrive at the restaurant and sit down. Tammy gets her change purse out and counts her money. I tell her I got her if she’s short.
“No, I got money. I just want to send some to my old celli. Just making sure I can still do that.”
“Your celli?” Annie asks.
“Yeah, the girl I shared a cell with in prison. She’s been in there for forty years. She got life, youngest female to get life in the state of Ohio.”
“What did she do?” Annie asks as I scan the menu. I always get the same thing; I don’t even know why I look.
“Nothing. She’s innocent,” Tammy replies.
“Of course she is,” I say dumping five sugar packs into my coffee.
“No, for real. Her dad was a really rich doctor. She fell in love with a black guy. Her parents didn’t dig it, told her to break up. She decided to run away with him. He came over in the middle of the night so they could steal one of her dad’s cars and run away.”
“But…” I say.
“She waited in the garage. He told her he was going to go inside to get something and she should wait there. Well, he ended up killing her mom, dad and brother. He came back to the garage and they took off. She didn’t know nothing about it. They got caught a couple of days later. She doesn’t have anybody to put money on her books.”
“Yeah, cause she fucking killed them all!” I say exasperated.
“Even if she did, people get caught up. Then before you know it, some shit you never intended is happening. Like when Tony spent my bail money. He didn’t mean it,” Tammy says.
“Tony?” Annie asks me.
“Her ex husband,” I say.
“Your husband spent your bail money?” Annie asks turning back to Tammy. She looks like she wants to hug her.
“Only half. He got the money back together though. Got me out a few days later,” she says shrugging.
“Love is letting your wife kick heroin in jail for a few days while you’re out running the streets,” I say.
“Heroin?” Annie asks looking back at me.
“So, how’s Abe doing in soccer this year? What college is he playing for? Annie’s son plays college soccer,” I tell Tammy, trying to steer the conversation away from murder, heroin and prison.
“I love soccer,” Tammy says with a big smile while pouring syrup on her pancakes. “I got a soccer outfit for Chico.”
“Chico?” Annie asks.
“My Chihuahua. I got pictures.” Tammy says reaching for her phone.