Haley, the good woman
Haley’s favorite movies were Teen Wolf and Predator, which we’d watch back-to-back on Friday nights. Every once and a while she’d throw Roadhouse into the rotation to mix things up a bit. Her 15 minutes of fame came many years ago when she landed the spot as the centerfold model for some Hot Rod magazine that’s no longer in print. When we dated she waited tables at a family-style Mexican restaurant off the 205 over by the airport. She owned a manufactured home in Gresham and had a 17-year old daughter that hated my guts. Sometimes when we’d make love she’d insist that we listen to High Enough by Damn Yankees. Afterwards I’d drive out to Jack in the Box to pick up a half-dozen tacos (sour cream, extra hot sauce), which we’d eat in bed.
We had met entirely by accident. I was riding my bike on Belmont heading downtown when Haley opened the driver’s side door to her car, sending me toppling over my handlebars and skidding across the hot asphalt. I had a raspberry across the right side of my ribcage, bloody elbows and knees, as well as a split chin. Instead of calling an ambulance or driving me to the hospital, Haley helped me and my bike into her car, took me to a dive bar on 81st street and got me completely loaded. Then she took me home with her. Haley fashioned a bowl out of an empty coke can in the living room, we smoked a little dope, and then she manhandled me on her loveseat until I passed out. That night we ordered a pizza and watched a Ken Burns documentary on PBS.
I never planned on sticking around with Haley for that long but she was just too good of a woman, which was something I hadn’t been around for several years. In fact, I had almost forgotten they even existed. She’d let me sleep in late and gave me a backrub almost every day before she left for work. When I’d get home at night there would be Mexican food from her restaurant reheating in the oven and a six-pack of tall boys in the fridge. Haley let me stay out late with friends. She didn’t get angry if I didn’t call. For my birthday she took me to see Kid Rock at the Portland Memorial Coliseum and serviced me in a bathroom stall that stank of beer and piss. Not my cup of tea, really, but exceptionally thoughtful nevertheless.
It was a bit of a surprise to come home from the show that evening and find Haley’s boyfriend, Dale, just back from his second tour in Iraq, hanging out in the living room. He lit me up pretty good, like a firework show on the 4th of July. Afterwards though he was a pretty good sport. He packed me and my bike into the back of his Ford pickup and took me to the same dive bar on 81st street that I’d gone to with Haley. We stayed until closing time talking about the differences between a good woman and a good girlfriend.
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