She knew she shouldn’t be here. She should have ignored his message, but yet she found herself here anyway.
She had made her way to the ragged outskirts of Springfield, the sketchy part of town that she had often warned her daughter to avoid. It was a humid, late summer evening and the sun had just settled below the horizon, leaving a warm red glow as the day faded into night.
Today had been boring, like most days. She had suffered through dinner as her husband prattled on about whatever new health problems he had been diagnosed with that day, while her daughter ignored them both. Even the three glasses of wine she had with dinner didn’t seem to help her mood. So when she got the call, she found herself answering, just for a break from the monotony.
He was waiting in the parking lot of an abandoned shopping center. The windows of the former stores were boarded shut, the walls covered with graffiti, weeds growing through the cracks in the sidewalk. He sat on the hood of his rusted car, sipping a beer.
“Want one?” he offered, holding out a can for her to take.
“No thank you,” she refused politely. She looked down at the ground, her arms wrapped around herself even though she wasn’t cold.
He shrugged and set the can back down. She just stood there, still looking down at the ground, wondering if she should turn and walk away.
“What’s wrong, Lisa?”
She looked up finally. “Nothing’s wrong.”
“I don’t believe you.” He finished his beer and crushed the can, tossing it onto the pavement. “How could you be happy, married to that dweeb?”
“Nelson, be nice! Milhouse is my husband!”
“He’s still a dweeb.”
She sighed, and ran her fingers nervously through her hair. “This isn’t right. I shouldn’t be here talking to you about this.”
“But you are.” He slid off of the hood of his car, and stepped closer to her. “You should be happy, Lisa. You should give this a chance.”
Lisa shook her head. “I can’t.”
“Why not? No one would blame you. And Zia would be okay. I mean, she’s not even his kid anyway.”
Lisa narrowed her eyes and made a disapproving sound- a sound that reminded her so much of the sounds her mother would make. The similarity made her uncomfortable, yet at the same time she was reminded that no matter how unhappy her mother had been, she had never resorted to… this…
“You’re thinking too much,” Nelson said after a moment. “Just relax.”
She laughed nervously. “You know I can’t do that.”
Nelson sighed. “I know.” Without another word he closed the distance between them, pulling her close and pressing a kiss against her lips before she had a chance to say anything else.
Lisa gasped in surprise, not sure how to react. Part of her mind told her to push him away, but another voice insisted that she give it a chance. She liked it, that wasn’t in question, it was the morality of it all that bothered her. Still, she found that she couldn’t pull away, and she only hoped that no one she knew would happen to be out in this part of Springfield in the middle of the night.