Copyright © 2022 by Leaia Faega All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover Credit: M. Thorne of Instagram
The stranger knew she looked familiar. He recognized her despair. Her eyes were rich and drowning. But they lacked something. The life in her dark chocolate eyes was muddled and murky. He’s heard her play for the summer season every two weeks. She would stand on the same corner, eat from the same corn dog cart, and sit on the same bench – always alone, always with that beat up – termite chewed guitar case. Just when she blended in – he noticed her. He saw her standing out from the crowd even though she tried to melt into the pavement – she shone like a diamond to the stranger on the pier.
“I’m so sorry. I-I just reacted. I don’t like to be surprised.” She mumbled as she held out her hand to help the stranger up.
“It’s okay. I didn’t mean to scare you. I just wanted to give this t-to y-y-you.” He hands her the case and steadies himself.
They just awkwardly gawk at one another. Almost as if one didn’t want to be the first to leave the other.
“So…yeah. Well, goodnight.”
“Hey, aren’t you going to give me something in return?” The stranger had nerve. But he didn’t care. He was dead set on getting her name.
Leigh Anne glares at the unabashedly beautiful stranger. She wasn’t about to reward someone she only said three words to for doing a noble gesture. Well, besides a curt thank you.
“T-Thank you?” Her voice sharp and quick.
“I was expecting a bit more than a quick thank you.” The stranger stood his ground. Throwing back equal shade. “I mean this is your bread and butter, isn’t it?”
Leigh Anne was getting exacerbated. This was the reason she didn’t converse with people that didn’t tip her.
“What the hell do you want from me? Are you a bill collector? Are you, my lawyer? How I earn my way is none of your business.” She turned on her heel and started back down the pier to the main road that paved the path back to her tiny home on wheels.
“Look, look I’m sorry. All I was hoping for was a name.” He calls out to her.
Leigh Anne stops abruptly. Her shoulders sag and just when he thinks she will turn around to meet his eyes again, she raises her head, stands up straight and continues on her way.
“Leigh Anne- “ “What?” He asks, looking to his right.
The corn dog stand sever chokes out. “Her name, Leigh Anne. But we call her Lonely Heart.” He pinches his lips tightly, until he’s wearing a hard line from ear to ear. Lonely Heart. “Thanks, man.” The stranger stares off into the direction she walked off in. I’ll be seeing you soon, Leigh Anne.
Home Sweet Home
This night had been particularly slow. She ended her performance earlier than usual because of the lack of listeners, passersby, and fair goers. Tonight, is the last night of summer before school resumes Monday. So ends her season of street preforming. She barely made enough for a week’s groceries.
When Leigh Anne first arrived in Santa Monica, she was living the dream as the young kids say. She worked two jobs, had money to spare, rock climbed, learned to surf, adopted a cat, but then her lawyer contacted her and explained there was an adjustment to the divorce settlement. Ethan got awarded – alimony!
Ethan claimed Leigh Anne owed him and his family for all those failed IVF treatments, that only resulted in miscarriage after miscarriage, and one still borne. She had no resources to contest it and she had no relationship with her parents since the divorce. Her own parents sat on his side of the court room.
As she strolled down the street, her sense of smell was hit with the familiar sweetness of lavender. The grand estate she passed on her route grew the blossoms outside the immense black iron gates.
The aroma of lavender made her feel safe – at home. Leigh Anne had a sense of ease wash over her as she climbed the two short steps up to her front door. Turing the key, she was greeted by a loud impatient… meow.
“Awe, Gretel. I’m so sorry. I forgot your lunch today. Here, look – I couldn’t finish my corn dog.” Leigh Anne bent down in her tiny farmhouse kitchen to break up the rest of her dinner and put it her cat's bowl.
With vigor and happiness, she gladly accepted the peace offering. As Leigh Anne pulled off her shoes, she noticed something poking out of her guitar case. She pulled it up onto her lap and opened up the case. And to her surprise she saw a wad of cash – 500.00 in fifty-dollar bills!
After closer examination there was a white receipt. Her cash out receipt from her housekeeping job. On the back there was poorly executed handwriting – my name is Theodore. But my friends call me Theo.
Note from author: Again, this is not edited. I'm just trying to get back into a creative headspace. I don't know what I will do with this when it's completed. But I hope you'll enjoy it. :)