Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Eight

I got to Swensen’s before my Cajun cowboy did and that, for me, was a good thing. I’m not overly fond of ice cream, but I do love going to Swensen’s. The gorgeous jewel-toned stained glass, the marble topped bistro style tables, the 1940’s soda fountain feel of the place. And the people watching; so interesting it’s enough to make one wonder if ice-cream is some sort of truth serum and that day there were a lot of conversations to listen to. Yes, I suppose you could call that eavesdropping, but hey – public place, public conversation. Whisper or go somewhere private if you don’t want others to hear!

I purposely chose a table next to a couple sharing something known as “the Earthquake”. Picture a mixing bowl filled to overflowing with ice cream, fruit, sauce, whipped cream and a variety of toppings and you’ll get the idea. Takes forever to eat finish it, if you even can, and that only happens when you’re sharing. With at least three friends.

The two with the earthquake were obviously having a discussion of earthquake proportions. They were so intense: hard to tell if they were making up or breaking up. I wondered if there would be enough ice cream – even in something like the earthquake – to sort out whatever they were going through.

The door opened and my (the?) cowboy walked in. The man at the counter greeted him by name and nodded in my direction. What the hell? Did I have some secret sign on my forehead? He asked for coffee and a slice of hot apple pie, no ice cream. Two of us at the best place in the city for premium ice cream and neither of us having any. Figures. Not surprised at the pie, though. I don’t think I’ve ever met a man who would say no to fresh apple pie, with or without the ice cream.

He came over and sat down at the table. “Glad you showed up. Is your dad ok? As much as can be expected, that is?”

Can’t hate a guy who is concerned about someone you love. And given that I made what money I had at the time from baking for friends and family I couldn’t really hate him for eating pastry and still being slim in the hips. Some people have lucky genes.

“Yes, or at least he knows where I am, if not the why and with whom. But then again I don’t know about the why and the who either, so no surprise there. Not much I could tell him, is there?”

“So, do you think we could start over?”

Starting over; I’d thought that a million times, both with Jims and with mom. Wishing that I had done things differently. Told them things when I had the ability to do so. Done more with them when I had the time, said fewer hurtful things. Isn’t that what anyone wants, a chance to do some things again? Not everything – thirteen was not a good year for me. But some things, yes. And starting all over with whatever was going on with the hot Cajun and my maybe not dead brother…yes, I’d like to start over.

“Please?” I nodded.
“Bonjour, I’m Remy LeBeau. I work for a group of people who knew your brother. Do you have a minute to sit and talk with me?”

“This is only because you said please. So yes, I have a minute. Hello yourself. I’m Evina Sulwen Yates, Evi to my friends. Feel free to call me Evina”.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fiction Friday Seven

I slid of the bench and watched him walk away. Not because he was worth watching – which he totally was – I just…watched. He was right about not worrying my dad, so I headed back to the hospital. Everything seemed the same, which I found confusing. How can the world not be different when someone you love is dead? Or when they are, perhaps, dead and yet not dead?

I scuffed my way through leaves that had fallen and then started gathering them the way we did when we were little – like every kid does - trying to find the brightest reds and the most flaming oranges. We used to bring them home to show mum, and I swear every time she managed to make us feel like this time, this time we’d truly found what must have been the very best leaves of the year. She’d press them with an iron between sheets of waxed paper, to show dad when he got home. For someone who died far too young she managed, somehow, to imbue our lives with wonder and the ability to find joy in small things. Please heaven may I do even half as much with my life as she did with hers.

Approaching the hospital doors I slowly dropped all but one red and one orange leaf. I think I was intending to take them home, or give them to day. At any rate, in the end I looked down at the two left in my hand and changed my mind. I waited for a gust of wind and launched them into it and watched them fly away; it was a day for letting things go.

I hate hospitals. Sad faces, fearful faces, lost and angry souls. You’d never think that life starts in hospitals too. The long dingy corridors always felt they were overrun with rivers of sorrow, rivers that I would have to wade against to get where I was going. I don’t remember much of that bit of that day at all. I remember the leaves, and I remember telling my dad I was going out for a bit, to call me if he needed to. I had enough money for the metro and a train home if they needed to leave without me. I didn’t say I was meeting a friend; even that small a lie felt as though it would be too much, as if he would break if the smallest harm touched him. He was, for a while, more akin to a leaf from later in the season: folded in, brittle, without colour. More sorrow for the river to claim.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fiction Friday Six

Man - or woman - this Fiction Friday thing is WAY harder than I thought it would be. I suppose that makes it worth doing, yes? Really, though, I'm a bit stubborn and I have some pride at stake: I'm the oldest of the three of us trying this thing out. If they can keep up with it so can I. With the occasional miss. Because I have a family. And a job. And Choreography to remember. And a diploma to earn. To the other Friday Fiction writers, I'm curious: do you go back and edit what you've already posted? I have. Not the posts themselves, but the originals in the file that I'm saving them.

Regardless - here y'all go. Fiction Friday Six:

The cowboy took his hat off and ran a dark hand through the even darker curls that had been hidden under it. “Merde”.

I don’t know if he thought I was looking stressed out or if my sprirograph – patterned multicoloured dress (hand made by yours truly) and pink hiking boots combination was making him stressed, but something was not going as planned. And that’s when he asked me out. Sort of. Okay, not at all, but that’s what it felt like then. Seventeen, remember?

“Look. There are some things that you need to think about, some arrangements that need to be made. Go talk to your dad and meet at Swensen’s in an hour”. He got up and stood there, waiting. I stayed where I was.

“Really, Monsieur le Cowboy? And I’m trusting you why, exactly?” Ha. I didn’t care – much – how good looking he was. I wasn’t going to let him assume I’d jump if he asked me to. Which I probably would have, but he didn’t need to know that, did he?

His lips curved in a bit of a smile as he shook his head. “Let’s try this again: I’d like to talk to you. Over ice cream. Your dad doesn’t need to have any more worries on his plate right now so go let him know where you’ll be. And as to why you should trust me?” The curve got a little bigger. “Let’s just say that I was warned you could be stubborn, and that if I ever needed to get 'L’il bit off her l’il butt’ I should tell you that Jimmybean says‘tag, you’re it forever'”. And he left.

Jimmybean. No one but me ever called James that, or knew I did. We were a team: Jimmybean and Sunbeam (my full name is Evina Sulwen Yates). Everyone just called him Jims. And no one but no one was with us the last time I saw him. We’d been joking about getting too old to play our own version of tag – Martian tag in the woods with flashlights – and when I left I kissed him on the head and said tagyou’reitforever. The Cowboy had it right: merde.