2nd July, 1987.
Beatrice Ella Jones. That’s her name. Beatrice Ella Jones is the kind of girl musicians write acoustic songs about. She’s a Jolene, or an Angie.
With dark hair and blue eyes and lips quirked up sardonically like she might smile at any moment, she exudes confidence and seems like the kind of person who would hang out with Penny Chase, the “cool” girl from my old high school. So you can imagine my surprise when she came knocking at Just Marjorie’s door two days ago with her Sony Walkman and yellow Vespa and asked if I wanted to hang out. Of course I said yes. When push comes to shove, I’d choose enigmatic potential friend over Kurt Vonnegut any day.
So here she sits with me, wearing a simple tank top and denim shorts, looking stunning. We’re sitting on the grass by the riverbank, staring at the Blackburn Bridge, the only sight worth seeing in these godforsaken couple of streets they call a town.
Beatrice leans back on her elbows and stares up at the sky.
“What kind of music do you listen to?” she asks in her charmingly bored voice.
“I dunno.” I shrug and hug my knees.
She snorts, “Please. You barely interact with humans. I can totally picture you holed up in that room at Just Marjorie’s, listening to songs and thinking about death.”
I bark out a short laugh. This. This is why I like Beatrice Ella Jones. She doesn’t bother to filter her thoughts before voicing them. She lives in Wonderland, where there are no consequences.
“Tell me.” She looks directly into my eyes; hers are a burning deep blue. Can blue even be described as burning?
“Okay.” I say finally, “I like The Smiths, I guess. And Simon & Garfunkel. Have you heard of them?”
Beatrice blows a bubble and it pops. She’s chewing gum. She shakes her head.
“What are they like?”
I mull her question over in my head, “They are like summer. Their songs can be scorching and intense, even melancholy, but most of the time they’re warm and pleasant.”
This makes her grin.
She tips her head back and stares at the sky again, “You, my little friend, are a poet.”
I smile at the word ‘friend’ (it’s pathetic, I know), “And you? What are you?”
Her grin diminishes into that sarcastic half-smile and she shrugs.