A few days later Wednesday afternoon, the sun was still high in the sky as Sharon walked towards Riverside Park. She had been trying to complete a translation of a will so that she’d have nothing on her mind the whole July 4th weekend that unofficially began tomorrow. She looked up from her computer at 4:00 PM and realized she hadn’t seen daylight all day. Forty minutes later, with the translation complete, she laced on her sneakers, threw on a loose skirt over her legwarmers, and went for a jog.
The park paralleled the northbound side of the West Side Highway, but there was a section of the bike path that ran right along the river. She hoped that there would be some breeze to relieve her from the summer afternoon heat.
There were more joggers on the path than usual, probably because of the upcoming holiday. While she was aware that physical activity lent itself to a certain ease in modest attire, she was surprised at how little the other female joggers wore. Sharon, on the other hand, felt a certain pride in choosing to hide her body behind a loose T-shirt and skirt, however content she was with her figure. Since that summer when she lost nearly thirty pounds and began exercising and toning, she always felt a selfish urge to get back some of the attention she never got in high school. Still, her religious education had instilled in her not to sacrifice her modesty for such urges.
Her modesty didn’t, though, bring her to cut off all contact with guys. Joe had tried many times to convince her to join his no-touching initiative, but she just couldn’t make such a statement of abstention, however much truth he espoused. Perhaps she relished the attention she got and feared that it would cease once she declared herself off-limits. Whatever the case, she wasn’t publicizing her preferences, something she hoped Andy would respect until their exact status was clearer. He had invited her to join his friends on their traditional trip downtown to see the fireworks display by the Statue of Liberty, and was hoping to gage the future of their relationship, if she could find an opportunity with his friends around.
Once Joe entered her mind, she thought of calling him. They hadn’t talked since she scolded him on Saturday night, and she couldn’t dreg up the energy to apologize. Besides, she had no idea what prompted him to act so strangely and run away like that, without even telling them he was going. What could he find wrong with Erica? She thought that he would be ecstatic to be handed such a girl — one who was even showing interest in him. There was always something amiss with him and girls that Sharon had never quite figured out.
Towards the end of her jog, when she saw it was 5:40 and he was certainly finished with work, she decided to call him. Finding a bench with a direct view of the skyscrapers along the New Jersey side of the river’s edge, she sat down to drink and dialed his number. As she took a long gulp from her water bottle, it connected immediately, though Joe gave no greeting.
“Hello Joey,” she said into the phone. Still there was no answer, only the distinct sound of street traffic. “Hello? Joey?”
“Hello?” he then asked, suspiciously. A different voice murmured something.
“Joey? What’s going on?”
“Who is this?” he asked confusedly.
Doesn’t he see my number on Caller ID? “Joey, it’s me,” Sharon replied, and then the call ended. Weird. She checked the display screen; her battery was nearly full and the reception at peak performance. When she called again, his calls went straight to voice-mail, meaning that he had either lost reception or turned his phone off. Brushing off the possibility of the latter, she resolved to call him later and stood up to jog home.
Dismayed over the shortness of this chapter? Don’t fret! You can either wait till the next installment (which with G-d’s help will come next week) or get your copy of Outdated NOW from Amazon or www.nathanwolff.com!