Thursday, December 22, 2011

Part II - three

                  Ginny wished again that there was an easy way to do this. But there wasn’t. Especially for a person such as herself, who tried to live a life that she felt was good, to do the right thing when things needed doing. It was this philosophy of honest living that was responsible for her misery these past few months. She’d woken up one morning and realized that she no longer loved Gordon, probably never had loved him, in fact. It surprised her because she’d thought that she was smarter, more than capable of discerning between love and infatuation. From that morning until meeting Rebecca a few days ago, she’d been living a lie, carrying on with Gordon as if nothing had changed. That, she realized, suddenly reframing her perspective, had been the hard part; breaking up with him, because it was the right thing to do, would be easy.

            Or so she fervently hoped. In any case, she’d cushioned things a bit for herself by securing a spacious duplex over on Geometry Street. The thought of Rebecca waiting for her there, moving in and setting up house, gave her strength. It was Saturday night and she entered the house on Euclid Street for the penultimate time.

            Gordon, in the kitchen, turned from the stove and smiled as she entered. “Where you been all day?” he asked.

            Ginny paused just inside the door. The look on her face scared the smile from Gordon’s. “We need to talk,” she said.

            “Uh oh,” said Gordon.

            Though there was a hopeful, almost playful tone in his voice, Ginny could tell by the troubled knit of his brow that he was worried. She wondered about her choice of opening line. It was so cliché, but it seemed the natural thing to say. She’d think about what that might say about her later. “I met somebody the other day, Gordon…”
            His hand moved slowly up and gripped his forehead.
            “At the Rolling Bear,” she continued. “I went in for lunch and came out in love.”

            Gordon’s eyes grew wider. His hand remained on his forehead. “You’re breaking up with me…” he muttered.

            After he said it, a great weight was lifted from Ginny’s mind and the situation became much easier, for her at least. “Yes,” she said. “In fact, I’m moving out tomorrow. I’ve already got another place.”

            “You’re breaking up with me,” he repeated, unmoving.

            “Yes,” she repeated. “I’m sorry, Gordon. I don’t want to hurt you but… I’m in love with somebody new.”

            The hand dropped from his forehead and hung limp at his side. “I guess it doesn’t matter that I’m still in love with you…” It was not quite a question, not quite a statement.

            Ginny shook her head and approached him from across the room. “Of course it matters,” she said. Only a couple of inches shorter than him, she looked up into his eyes. “But it also matters that I’m not in love with you. Not anymore.” Though the thought crossed her mind, she avoided the cruelty of adding, “If I ever was”. Instead, she apologized again. “I’m sorry,” she said.

            Gordon just stared at her wide eyed and wounded. He didn’t say much else as she moved about the house, gathering up her toothbrush, a small brown journal, a pack of post-its, a ball of extra clothes, and stuffing it all into a green knapsack. When she stood at the door again, looking at him from the threshold, her bag slung almost carelessly over her shoulder, he said, “Oh, Ginny, I love you.”

            She turned her eyes from his a moment. “I know,” she whispered. Meeting his gaze again, she said, “I’ll be back tomorrow for the rest of my stuff, around 11.”

           He nodded his head, rather vacantly Ginny thought. She was relieved that he had not cried, and did not appear about to do so. She pushed the door open before her. “Take care, Gordon.”

            She was glad to see him summon a smile up from somewhere. “You too…” he said.

            Then she exited the house, leaving it completely empty.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Part II - two

While Ginny ate her lunch (grilled cheese sandwich with fries on the side and, of course, a Coca-Cola), Rebecca cornered Melinda in the kitchen and begged her for information about the customer in booth four, the bright girl with the dark hair and eyes who called herself Ginny, short for Virginia.

“You’re acting like you’re in love, little girl,” Mel observed.

Rebecca laughed. “I think I might be. Please, Mel, what can you tell me?”

As it turned out, Melinda could tell her quite a lot. With the possible exception of Ginny’s own mother, the proprietor of The Rolling Bear Café knew Ginny better than anyone in town; maybe even better than Ginny knew herself. She gave Rebecca the details the love struck girl needed.

Virginia Jason was a local girl, in her mid to late twenties (Mel wouldn’t get any more specific than that), the daughter of Emma Jason. Emma owned and operated The Stall, where the guy Ginny had been living with for some months was employed.

“But don’t worry,” Mel reassured Rebecca, much as it pained her on behalf of Gordon, “Ginny hasn’t considered that relationship serious for a while.”

“So, she’s kind of single?”Rebecca laughed.

Mel nodded, “Exactly.”

Rebecca’s head and stomach were abuzz. It was a feeling she associated with guys, usually. She’d felt like this the few times she thought she was in love – darling Ricky, incorrigible Tony and, of course, poor, poor James. But it was much stronger now, a constant silver –blue thrill right through the middle of her at the thought of Ginny, dark and bright, currently eating a grilled cheese sandwich in booth 4.

 “Is everything ok?” Rebecca approached the table with a question, using her duty as a good waitress to get another look at Virginia Jason, the girl who had, apparently, stolen her heart without even trying.

Ginny swallowed a mouthful of sandwich. “Best grilled cheese sandwich ever,” she said. And she meant it! In fact, she couldn’t remember anything ever tasting as good as this perfectly grilled sandwich, these fries crisped just the way she liked, this cola so cool and refreshing. “Really,” she continued. “This may be the best meal I’ve ever had.”

“Wow,” said Rebecca, and, “Great!” She was feeling so good at the moment that she had no reason to think Ginny might be exaggerating, which, of course, she wasn’t. “Let me know if you need anything else!”

They both smiled.

Ginny couldn’t resist the opening this beautiful blonde creature had provided. “Just to see you again,” she said.

Rebecca laughed, her cheeks flushing, that silver-blue thrill pulsing through her anew. “That’s easy,” she said, “but how about a refill on your Coke?”

Ginny placed a hand over her glass. “No thanks,” she said. “I’ve gotta’ pee as it is.”

Returning to the kitchen, Rebecca paused behind the door to catch her breath and collect her thoughts. She was smitten, without a doubt. Seriously. And with a woman! What would her uncle say!? Well, she reflected with a grin, he’d probably give his blessing! She decided to go with it, as if she wasn’t already racing along on the rushing waters of this strange new feeling. Alone there in the kitchen, she smiled. She wanted to know what came next.

Eleven minutes later she slipped the bill, face down, onto Ginny’s table. “I’ll see you at eight,” she said.

“I can only hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am.” Ginny smiled.

Rebecca tingled. She felt electric, certain that Ginny must see the sparks of light popping from her hands and face. “Maybe more,” she replied. Smiling shyly now, she slipped away from the table with Ginny’s empty plate.

Turning the bill over, Ginny found a small yellow Post-it stuck to the bottom. She laughed even before she read the words, printed in a neat and tiny hand on the small yellow rectangle, for she had a pack just this size in her pocket. The note, short and sweet, read:

I think I love you.
You’re beautiful.

Her heart fluttering, Ginny removed the note, read it again. She felt the Earth spinning beneath her, just as it always had but different. Now she sensed a purpose in that mad rotation, a meaning previously unguessed. Reaching into her pack, a green army surplus bag with a couple of large pockets, she withdrew her journal. She flipped the brown, vellum bound book open and placed the note, now a precious thing, on the inside front cover, pressing firmly down upon the adhesive strip. She had no doubt that she was in love.

At the register, Melinda rang her up. Glimpsing Rebecca at work in the kitchen, Ginny asked, “So, who’s the new girl?”

Melinda smiled, knowing that she was witnessing the beginning of something beautiful and true. By the time Ginny had figured the tip (a little extra to be sure!), signed her name, and returned her debit card to her wallet, she knew as much about Mel’s new waitress as Mel did.

Her name was Rebecca Raine, 21 years old. She’d been in town less than a week, visiting from San Pia down south. She was staying with her “occasional boyfriend”, as Mel put it, James Hollowbroook. James, something of a loner, was a poet and musician. He sometimes played around town, on street corners or on stage at The Blue Room, just a few doors down from The Rolling Bear.

Rebecca seemed to be in a kind of in between state at the moment, Mel observed; unsure if she wanted to remain in town here with James, maybe even get her own place, or go back to her uncle in San Pia. Mel had given the girl a job on a temporary basis because she needed help, sure, but she’d fallen in love herself with Rebecca’s bright smile and flashing golden curls.

“Anyway,” Mel finished, “she’s off at eight, officially, but why don’t you come by a little early?”

“Bless you, Mel, I’ll be here at six!”

Melinda laughed softly. “How about 7:30,” she suggested. “And please, Gin, let Gordon down easy.” She looked into Ginny’s dark eyes. “You know he’s crazy about you.”

Ginny frowned, but only a moment. This new elation which moved her would not allow any sadness to linger. “I know,” she said. “And that’s gonna make letting him down easy impossible…”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This product is not associated with my narrative of the same name.

Or is it?

Many years ago in New Orleans I saw, in a gallery, Rodrigue's art, including I am sure the blue dog pictured above. I did not know the artist's name, or how popular his blue dogs were, until recently.

Though I cannot credit Rodrigue's art as a direct influence on my open ended narrative about life on the border of California and possibility, I will admit my glimpse of Rodrigue's blue dog may have influenced me somewhere below memory as The Blue Dog Journal, the characters and their stories, began to take shape in my mind. Especially as my blue dog - read chapter 4 for his first appearance - looks not unlike Rodrigue's! Though height is difficult to judge in the picture above, I think my hound is bigger, if scrawnier, and  maybe a little rougher around the edges but a similar shade of blue.

Now that I am aware of Rodrigue and his blue dog on a conscious level, it is only a matter of time before they appear somewhere in my open ended narrative. And maybe I should start using Rodrigue's journal to write The Blue Dog Journal. A nice idea but I am composing more and more on the laptop these days. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Part II - one

The relationship was serious almost immediately, both Ginny and Rebecca would agree. If it wasn’t quite love at first sight, it was at least love at second sight. Ginny, who’d been unhappy with Gordon for a while, wasn’t actively seeking another lover. Not consciously, at least; and certainly not at The Rolling Bear Café on some off Tuesday afternoon. Rebecca, for her part, thought that she preferred men. Then their eyes met.

“Hi!” said Rebecca, still practicing her waitress smile after only a few days on the job as she offered a menu down to Ginny, who sat looking up from the corner of her usual booth.

Ginny blinked, noted the plastic name tag on the girl’s blouse. “Hello, Rebecca.”

At the sound of her name pronounced in the breathy voice of this dark and beautiful woman, Rebecca’s real smile shone through her practiced expression. Ginny returned the smile and it was then that each of them knew the world had changed.

“Can I start you off with something to drink?” Rebecca, not knowing what else to say, bravely pressed forward with routine.

Ginny knew just what to say and said it, “What time do you get outta’ here?”

Rebecca laughed, a sound like wind chimes to Ginny’s ears. “About 8…”

“Can I see you then?”

“Yes, please.” Rebecca could hardly believe what she was saying. “I’ll wait for you.”

Except for Mel in the back, they had been alone in the café until that moment when the bell tinkled on the door and old Doc Grimes entered. Nobody was sure just what kind of doctor Grimes was, but most agreed his field of knowledge seemed wide and deep enough that he might have been any kind. Rebecca turned her waitress smile on the old man as he took a seat at the counter. “Be right with you, Doctor!”

Grimes waved a hand. “No hurry!”

Turning back to Ginny, Rebecca’s real smile returned.

Ginny had not removed her eyes from the young waitress and was now even deeper in love. “Wonderful,” she said. “My name’s Virginia, by the way, but you can call me Ginny. And yes, please, can I get a Coke?”

Rebecca felt somehow that she knew the answer, but she asked the question anyway, “Diet or regular?”

“Fulla’ sugar and caffeine!” Ginny laughed.

Regular, just as Rebecca had known.