Angie and I are leaving a meeting around 1pm in Reston, I have another meeting downtown DC at 2pm so I need to move quickly. I get close to the building for my meeting and realize there’s no way I’m going to have time to find parking so I ask Angie to drop me off and find a place to have coffee or something while I handle the meeting solo. The meeting went well; nothing major just me sniffing around for new business. I walk out of the building from my meeting, text Angie to see where she’s at. She says she’s at a café in Union Station, “Do you want me to come get you?” I say, “No, I’m close enough to walk, I’ll join you in a bit”.
I meet up with Angie, order an ice coffee and a biscotti; I take off my Givenchy suit jacket as now I’m sweaty from the walk over and it being hot as hell outside. We’re going over some notes to plan out the week. Union Station always has a mixed bag of people, business people, tourists, homeless and the sketchy types that look like they’re trying to snatch a purse or something. Today was no different; Angie and I were deep in conversation while a young lady is getting woken up by security. The security guard says something like, “You’ve been here for hours, I’m sorry but we can’t let people sleep here”.
The woman catches my eye because something didn’t fit. Sure, there are homeless people all over DC but this tiny woman is maybe early 20s and doesn’t look like the worn backpacking type. I turn back to Angie,
Me: Angie, give me your 30 seconds on this chick – what’s her deal?
Angie: Hmmm, knock off True Religion jeans, Payless flip flops and a top that looks like she bought it in Marshalls.
Me: What else?
Angie: She looks like a typical college kid traveling
Me: The bags, not the backpack, look at the bag on the floor.
Angie: It’s a grocery store bag (the type of bag you would buy from a grocery store so you don’t have to use plastic bags).
Me: Still nothing?
Angie: There are clothes in the bag.
Me: Yeah, who does that? Wherever she left, she left fast. She’s too old to be a ‘run away’ and too clean to be a street lifer.
The woman stands up and looks around like she doesn’t know where to go. I can’t take my eyes off here now, yes she’s very cute but I’m more intrigued by this and instantly dropped into the mode of I have to figure this out. I take Angie’s hand and approach this woman with Angie; the two of us standing like we’re a couple.
Me: Hi, I’m Arizona, this is Angie – are you okay? Can we help? What’s your name?
Keara: I’m Keara, just trying to figure my way out of here
Me: Oh, yes it’s a little confusing in here but the main entrance is that way, parking is up the steps and the trains are that way.
Keara: No, I mean I need to get back Jacksonville – my boyfriend is a psycho, I just had to leave.
Me: Are you going to take the train there? That would take forever.
Keara: No, my boyfriend cut my debit card off so I took the train from Philadelphia to get as close as I could to Jacksonville and now I only have $13.
Angie (interrupting): Ronnie, you have a happy hour meeting at 4:30.
Me: I turn to Keara, do you want to come with us? We’ll help you figure something out.
Keara: Sure, I don’t know what else to do but like I said, I only have $13.
Angie: If he invited you, you’re a guest – we don’t charge guests (she said this with a level of confidence that I’m not use to with Angie, I like it).
Keara gathers her things and follows up to the parking garage above Union Station. Keara shares more about her boyfriend while we’re driving, how she met him while she was working at a sandwich shop in Jacksonville, they dated for a short period of time then he got a transfer opportunity to Philly – it was their first time living together and from what I gathered, he defiantly had sort of bi-polar and/or alcohol problems undiagnosed.
In my personal experience, if this was a “work”, she would only accept money to go off and buy drugs or pay whoever set her up for this – not accept a ride. Her accent was genuine and matches what I was familiar with in my travels to northern Florida. She also shared that she really didn’t want to go back to Jacksonville because she would be living back with her mom and step dad which she didn’t like and would have to admit to being a failure. This is someone that simply didn’t have an exit plan and put everything into some dude she dated for a few months.
Keara: So your name is Arizona?
Me: Yes, last name Ron
Keara: Like the city Arizona?
Me: More like the State but yeah
Keara: You were born with that name?
Me: No, I bought it from a guy name Rodney Dangerfield
Keara: How do you buy a name from someone? (Angie rolls her eyes because she's heard this line too many times)
Me: Simple, he was getting more names in that week and had to make space so he gave me a deal. There was one caveat though: I can return the name but as long as I’m using the name, I can’t make it a bad name.
Me: Angie, do we have time to stop back at the condo? I need to change, I feel like I’m soaking in this suit. And who wants to go to happy hour in a suit?
Angie: Yes, it’s an outdoor patio bar so I’m already planning to get you changed before we get there.
Keara: You live near here?
Me: Yeah, I have one of my places close by; do you mind if we stop by there and freshen up?
Keara: Okay I just didn’t want to intrude
Angie: You’re not, again, you’re just a guest (not use to Angie’s snide attitude).
We get to my condo, I change and ask Angie if she can find fresh clothes for Keara and offer to get cleaned up if she likes. Angie and Keara look the same size to me but what do I know. “Angie, I’m doing jeans for this one, they want my money not the other way around so look relaxed”.