In Between Lives: Chapter Seven

18th July, 1987.

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There is a painting in Just Marjorie’s house that reminds me of Beatrice. It’s the picture of a broken vase. The vase is beautiful, and the cracks in it somehow enhance its beauty.

I haven’t heard from her in six days. After we met, we started meeting every day. So her silence is unusual.

Maybe she regrets sharing her most intimate secret, her pain, with me. I hope not.

I’ve been spending time with Kevin in her absence. He makes me laugh and doesn’t ask too many questions; I like him. Maybe a little more than I’m ready to admit just yet.

Just Marjorie has been acting weird lately. Since the morning after Beatrice’s confession, she has been hovering. Wanting to spend more time together and asking where I’m going every time I leave the house. It’s stifling.

It is Sunday afternoon and too hot to go outside.

I sit dressed anyway, because Kevin loves surprise site-seeing trips (which basically means sitting in his car near Blackburn Bridge) and surprise lunch non-dates. I call it that because I refuse to acknowledge it as anything else. This always makes Kevin smirk.

I hear the doorbell and get up to answer it. Just Marjorie is in the shower.

I open the door to an expectant looking Beatrice, rocking back and forth on her heels, her eyes bright.

“We’re going to a concert.”

I stare at her.

She is wearing an oversized, acid washed denim jacket with matching, very short shorts and a black tank top that barely covers her stomach underneath the jacket.

“Hello, to you, too.” I finally say, crossing my arms against my chest.

Beatrice rolls her eyes, “You can be all kinds of snarky to me on the way there, but we really need to get going.”

I stare at her in amazement. Is she for real?

“Beatrice,” I say, “you have not spoken to me in a week and now you just show up and—“

“Look,” she cuts me off, “I know you ought to be pissed off at me. And I accept that—”

“I am not pissed off. I was worried.” I interrupt.

Beatrice blinks, like the idea of someone worrying about her is absurd, “Worried?” she looks at her leather clad feet uncomfortably, “I’m sorry for making you worry, I guess.” Then she clasps her hands together dramatically and looks at me pleadingly, “But we have to leave! Sonic Youth is playing in Houston! I have tickets and it’s only like, an hour from here. You can thank me later.”

I stand there speechless for several moments.

Then I do what I knew I would do the moment she started speaking.

“Let me go fetch my wallet.” I mumble.

I relent.

Beatrice grins so bright that I almost smile.

I roll my eyes instead.

Friendship is fifty percent trust and fifty percent terrible decisions.

Beatrice lied. It took us an hour and forty minutes to get to Houston.  It was an extremely unpleasant journey on the Vespa, with the uncomfortable seat and the blazing sun on my back.

Just Marjorie had come to the door as I was leaving. She asked me where I was going, suspiciously. I jerked my head towards Beatrice and said I was going for a concert. She looked between us incredulously (I can bet it was Beatrice’s less than modest clothing) and then her eyes fell upon the Vespa in the driveway.

Just Marjorie is an old-fashioned person. I fled before she could say anything.

The concert was in a very exclusive bar, I don’t know how Beatrice managed to get the tickets. She wouldn’t tell me when I asked.

The concert itself, is very intimate, and one of the most exquisite musical experiences of my life. I don’t listen to Sonic Youth very much. But their live performance of Superstar completely converts me. Beatrice tells me she has a couple of their albums at home and promises to lend them to me.

After the concert, Beatrice asks a stranger on the sidewalk for a “light” and starts smoking. I watch as she piques a conversation with the stranger (who is about our age and very obviously attracted to her).

She asks him where he lives. He lives two towns from here.

Our town is on his way, would he mind giving her a ride?

It would be his pleasure.

We ride back home with Beatrice’s Vespa at the back of a stranger’s pickup truck, with her in the front seat and me in the back.

They flirt all the way home.

Attraction is fifty percent real and fifty percent superficial.

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