C. doesn't bat an eyelash when I quit my third job in two months. I tell him, I tell myself, I'll find another job, pronto. Piece of cake. Nothing to worry about. And oddly, I don't worry.
Together, we went online and applied for a Pell Grant to pay the rest of his tuition, which would mean I could take the fat bankroll I've saved for that purpose and buy groceries. The application is so easy I'm shocked it took us this long. That was just two weeks ago and his college already contacted him and told him he should have money by the end of the month.
One morning I sit down and invent a resume that says I am bright shining star of the food service industry and the best damn waitress and/or cocktail server your upscale establishment could desire, and then I go downtown and paper all the nice restaurants and hotel bars. One bar manager tells me to come back after the 4th of July. Everyone else says they'll call me. I'm waiting.
Late one afternoon my phone rings with an out-of-town area code and I pick it up and the guy who introduced himself is the public face of the biggest and most elusive of the institutions whom I have contacted on behalf of Dayjob Project and importunately demanded money. I have been in and out of touch with this man for a year. He has requested documents. I have sent them. I have waited. I have called. I have talked to secretaries and interns. I have waited. I have called again. I have left messages. Now he is on the phone with me and he's using words like "awesome" and "perfect." He's telling me my project is great, and needs to be done, and he's saying "I think we have everything we need to move forward" and he's telling me about the Process. The Process is long, and involves a lot of other people doing things, while I just sit tight on my little ass and wait for a decision. This will take until, oh, say November.
At which time they might or might not send me what I've always wanted: a big bag of money.
A big bag of money means the project can go on. If there is no money, I do not know what I will do. I don't seem to be worried. The project will go on, or maybe it won't. But probably it will. It has momentum, now. A lot of people want to see it happen. I myself will go on, regardless. I always go on.
I find I'm not scared, not at all. This little boat is on the ocean now and the only thing to do is make for the far shore. There is no point in thinking about how deep the water is, or what might be down there. The water is deep and the monsters are down there whether you think about it or not.
I only worry because I am not alone. If it were just me I would have quit dancing a long time ago. I would sleep in someone's garage and live on tortillas like I did when I was twenty, and it would be OK. But C. didn't ask for anything of this, and he trusts me, and I don't want to let him down.
I tell him that we're going to be poor for a while. I tell him I'll do my best, but times are tight. Like he doesn't know already. He does the shopping; he knows the grocery budget is half what it was at the beginning of the year. But I want to know that he knows. I want him to tell me it's OK. I want that so much.
"So you get it, right?" I want to know. We are in the car on the way home from somewhere. C. is driving. I am talking. "You don't mind that we're going to be poor?"
We pull up at a red light, which is good because he can take his eyes off the road and look at me. "How poor?"
"Poor like 'I might have to drop out of school and sell a kidney so we can afford medicine' kind of poor?"
"Poor like 'we might have to eat a lot of beans' kind of poor."
The light turns green. He turns his eyes back to the road. Quietness. He smiles. He reaches over and gently squeezes my thigh.
"Baby, baby, baby," he says. "Baby, you know I love beans."