Being with Georgette #11
The small trailer hitched to my truck bounced over the potholes in the grocery store parking lot.
“Careful,” Georgette barked. “That’s my stuff.”
“Why are we stopping here?” I asked. “We can come back after dropping off your stuff at your school.”
“Turn off the engine.”
I turned off the engine.
“I’m not going to school this year.”
“So why did I bring you up here?”
Georgette said, “I’m going away.”
A bird landed on the hood ornament of the truck.
“With someone?” I asked.
I honked the horn, and the bird flew away.
“Don’t say it like that.”
I unhitched the trailer and blocked its wheels.
Georgette stared straight ahead when I got back in the truck.
“When will he be here?”
She looked at me and said plainly, “You don’t have to wait.”
“I’m not leaving you alone in a parking lot with your trailer.”
Georgette said, “Please don’t make a scene.”
“I’m not making a scene.”
“I mean when he gets here.”
“I never make a scene.”
“But you always tell me to not make a scene.”
“I won’t make a scene.”
We ate burgers in the truck as the sun went down.
Georgette said, “Don’t tell my dad.”
“What will I say at Christmas?”
“He’ll know everything by then.”
“What about Thanksgiving.”
She said, “Don’t go home for Thanksgiving.”
“I have to go somewhere; they close campus.”
“You can come stay with me. With us.”
“He must be quite a guy.”
At eleven-thirty I said, “My dorm closes at midnight.”
“No it doesn’t.”
“I can call the floor advisor, but they won’t let you in.”
“Why would I need in?”
“He’s not coming.”
At dawn, Georgette said, “Have you slept?”
“When does your dorm open again?”
“I’ll sleep when you’re in class.”
“My classes don’t start until tomorrow.”
“Can you drive me back home today?”
“Why don’t you just go to school? Your classes don’t start for two more days.”
“I thought our schools started the same day.”
“That explains it then.”
“That explains what?”
“He’ll pick me up today. We were a day early.”
By three in the afternoon, he had come and they had gone.
I didn’t make a scene.
I stopped by her college to see if they cared to know she wouldn’t be attending.
On a table outside the administration office was a table scattered with a few name tags of the freshmen who hadn’t yet arrived for orientation–and at least one who never would.
I took Georgette’s and tore it in two.
A sweet voice said, “That’s mine.”
I turned around.
She was taller and darker than Georgette.
I said, “You don’t look like Georgette Jaynes.”
“I’m Georgette Gray.”
I put the two pieces of torn paper together. In a smaller font, centered under the large first name, was the last name “Gray”.
The name tag for Georgette Jaynes stared at me from the table with the same screaming silence Georgette had mastered long ago.
I handed Georgette the pieces of her name tag and tore the other one to bits, muting the silence.
“Were you waiting for someone?” she asked.
“I’ve learned not to wait. I just exist while others are deciding when to show up.”
She smiled and said, “Do you believe in happy coincidences?”
“No,” I said, unable to return her smile. “But that doesn’t stop me from pursuing the interesting ones.”
And that is how I ended up with two Georgettes in my life.