Chris didn't want to take a lunch break. He wasn't hungry. Maybe he felt like fasting. That's what this is, he imagined. Yes, he was perhaps having an epiphany of some kind and the longer he went with out the more he might learn about what ever was happening to him.
He wasn't talking to Dayton, either. Not that he thought Dayton would notice because well, he didn't need anything from him but a ride to work. His license hadn't been taken away yet, but Dayton had said he'd figured as much to happen if he drove. So didn't.
Chris supposed that was a good deed. He drove him around. Now he had Nancy. Couldn't she drive him around?
He got his oily hands messier as he dug in under a hood. Finally he got down to the belly of someone Plymouth and stayed under it for the longest time contemplating if he should just stay here tonight and work on more cars. He knew he had the energy to do it. They wouldn't even have to pay him overtime.
But everytime he closed his eyes, he thought of Max. Chris couldn't imagine him ever being any one's burden. Yet he hated to think about him. It was wrong. He respected him. Chris had to keep him out of his life. He was sure he could only bring him down.
His eyes watered. He couldn't help it. Really, he just needed to be here and no where else. No where else.
"Hey, Chris, got somebody here to see you," A clerk came into the garage to tell him.
Chris cringed slightly. He knew it wasn't family. No one bothered him unless they needed him to pay a bill. This was just freaky. He got out from under the car and wiped his hands clean. He walked toward the office and saw it was Max.
A shiver ran through him. He blinked.
"Uh, I did look at that furnace, and it needs a lot work," Chris said as if he knew why he was here. It was the furnace.
"You already took a look at it?" Max sounded surprised.
"This morning." Chris thought he might choke. Evidently Max had brought something in a brown paper bag.
"I thought we might could talk, you had lunch?"
Chris shook his head, catching his breath.
"Well, its just sandwiches. Mrs. Hopkins has some really good chicken salad. And I brought some her sweet iced tea too, and she makes a mean potato salad as well," Max told him as they walked out toward the sunshine in the damp wind.
"I ain't really all that hungry." Only Chris was. He really wished Max hadn't mentioned sandwiches. He suspected he could wolf down a couple if he had too. But he really didn't want too. Max might have to watch him eat. "But thanks, anyhow."
"I bet you could eat little," Max smiled.
"I really wasn't expecting you to go and check on that furnace, already. I mean, I could have been there, all right?" Max said as they sat down at a picnic table next to a tree with green apples.
"No, you're a busy man with a lot to see too," Chris shook head.
"You're a good man, Chris." Max looked at him then getting out the sandwiches and the jars of cold tea.
Chris stayed silent. Honestly, he didn't think so. He just pulled out a sandwich from the wax paper then and began eating.
"There's grapes." Chris finally mentioned about the chicken salad. "Pecans, too." He kept chewing trying to swallow. He thought he might gage on the sandwich for a moment but washed it down with the sweet tea.
Of course, Max hadn't taken one bite yet, he was praying silently over his food. Chris knew then he'd interrupted something.
"Sorry, about that." Chris cleared his throat then.
"Did you get any potato salad?"
But Max got out the Tupperware cups of potato salad and spoons. Real spoons. Chris decided to dig into the potato salad, after all. It was thick with chunks of potatoes and egg with red peppers and onions along with celery. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had this many vegetables.
"You know you're just enabling Dayton, don't you?"
"Uh, enabling?"Chris never actually heard the word before, but he was sure it had to be something bad.
"You have to stand up to him."
"Well, I do, and then we- we get into some terrible fights," Chris scratched his ear then.
"How so?" Max wanted to know.
"I don't know, it just happens." Chris shrugged. "He's got a whole lot of fight'n going on inside him, I guess. You know, like maybe he just enjoys a good fight."
"Fighting? What do you mean by that?" Max pressed.
"Nothing." Chris squinted wishing he hadn't brought it up, "Sides, he got him a girl now, he ain't gonna be bothering Bex no more. Hell, I bet he moves out in a week or so. It'll all be fine." He faked a simple grin then.
"You will come to church, won't you. I think its what you need. You know, just spending some time away from Dayton. You might feel blessed."
"Blessed." Chris had never used that word before, but he could feel it inside him already, he sure hoped it meant what Max was talking about, but he was pretty sure it didn't. So there was no real reason to go to that church.
"Look, I'll get right on that furnace when I get off from here."
"I'd want the heat running, just in case, we could get snow. Sometimes, it does come in November." Chris rubbed his thumb against his bottom lip then as he studied Max. Why did he have to be so damn perfect? He was pretty sure Max could tell already that he was quite a heathen.