"He's not answering," I sighed, handing Joseph his phone. Wilmer still hadn't picked up, and I figured that after a third try, enough was enough.
"Nothing?" Joe asked, and I shook my head.
"Nothing. But thanks anyway."
As Joe went to put the phone into his pocket, I attempted to find ways to distract myself from my own frustration with Will. My eyes scanned the shop in an effort to find something interesting to occupy my mind. I began creating a lists in my head - something I had done since I was a child - of the things that I saw.
1. A bookcase filled with manuals on different car parts.
2. An aged briefcase whose leather was splitting into cracks that resembled skin-like wrinkles.
3. White paint chipping from the walls that revealed a blue undercoat.
4. A desk that was so tall, you had no choice but to stand at it; a chair was clearly not an option.
5. A couch whose leather looked similar to that of the old briefcase, alongside two matching chairs.
6. A fish tank that held no fish. Weird.
The shop was very small, and as my mind wandered it even more, I once again had eyes on Joseph, who had taken his place in a chair at a smaller desk that I hadn't noted in my head just yet. He wasn't very far from me, and I'd grown bored of making my list, so I decided to talk to him.
"Joseph?" I asked. He seemed to have forgotten I was there, and looked up from the newspaper he was reading.
"Yes ma'am?" Well I certainly didn't expect that. And who reads newspapers anymore?
"Can I call you Joe?" I asked, ignoring my pessimistic thoughts. He chuckled then, tapping his finger against the nametag that sat above his heart. The word Joe was stitched clearly across the patch in cursive lettering.
"I'd say most people do anyway," he replied.
"Right," I said with an embarrassed smile. I cleared my throat then, preparing to ask him a new question. "So, are you from around here?"
"Yes," he replied simply.
"I find that hard to believe," I said, shaking my head.
"Is that so?" Joe sat up, folded his newspaper into his lap, and gave me all of his attention. I swallowed.
"It's just that. . . you're really nice. And you don't have, you know, the accent."
"Well that's easy to explain," he began, leaning forward in his chair. "You see, I'm from Boston, but my parents are not. They came here without an accent, naturally, and they homeschooled me. As far as being nice goes . . . well, I imagine that's just the southern hospitality they instilled in me."
"Southern?" I asked, confused. Joe grinned.
"My parents come from Tennessee."
"That's actually really cool," I laughed, and truly I meant it. It was rare to find a genuinely kind person in Boston, especially when it came to the men. I immediately had a respect for him I hadn't planned on giving, and suddenly I was nothing short of comfortable.