(Continued from previous days)
When Maureen raced out of the ladies' room, she slammed the door open against the wall, where it stuck.
Jamie stood there in that blue neon light against pea green walls and watched Maureen now yelling at Jim, who was leaning against the bar with a bottle of beer in one hand. He seemed to be smiling then shaking his head and at one point even waving her away with his free hand.
This is my time to leave, Jamie thought.
The crowd was smaller now so exiting without catching Maureen's eye was going to be a challenge. She started to inch her way along the wall behind the few cowboys and cowgirls still swaying to the music then turned and headed straight for the door.
"Oh no, you don't!"
Jamie suddenly felt a wet splash on her back -- the cold made her gasp, and her whole body shiver.
"Look at me, you, you, you..."
"Maureen," Jamie said with another shiver. She took a deep pranayama breath, turned slowly and held out her hands with her palms up. "What are you doing?"
Maureen, whose whole life had been about career and success and fine things -- at least according to what she had told Jamie -- now had red eyes smudged with mascara and her white silk blouse was hanging out over her short black skirt.
"I'm protecting what's mine!" Maureen shouted, throwing down her glass.
Jamie stepped toward her, gently shaking her head. "You're the one he went home with last night, aren't you?"
Maureen glared at her.
Jamie glanced over at Jim who seemed to smile sheepishly and shrug.
Maureen awkwardly shoved Jamie's arm. "All we did was talk!"
Jamie stepped back and took another deep breath. "Maureen," she said quietly, "that's not my fault."
"Yes, it is! He just wanted to know about you!"
At that point, Maureen lunged for Jamie and tried to slap her in the face with both hands.
Jamie grabbed Maureen's arms and held them tightly away from her face. All those years of yoga were finally paying off. Maureen started kicking at Jamie's legs but couldn't reach them.
The few remaining honky tonkers were making a loose circle around them -- some of the men were laughing, even goading them on, while the women watched silently, arms crossed tightly over their chest.
Jamie held Maureen's flailing arms, even tightening her grip, until she felt the other woman gradually relax and finally crumple to the floor, head down, shoulders slumped.
As Jamie stood there, her mind reeling, trying to catch her breath, wondering what had just happened, she saw Jim walking toward them from the bar.
Without a word, he lifted her up and hoisted her over his shoulder. Jamie faintly struggled for him to let her go then gave up.
"It's okay," Jim said softly, carrying her out the door.
The crowd broke out into cheers and applause.
Jamie lifted her head and saw Bill help Maureen to her feet. The two walked together back to the bar.
Part V on the way...the last installment.
Photo from www.yoga.lovetoknow.com