I'm at Radiator Springs Racers (Anaheim, CA) w/ 9 others [pic]: http://t.co/lWRuVkSa
|Written by Samuel Cole|
|Tuesday, 07 February 2012 00:00|
Bertie Wickapough tilts to the left. Nine months of physical therapy didn’t straighten her out a bit. Her right leg—a mass collection of steel plates, pipes, screws, and bolts—makes a squeaky thump wherever she walks. She used to skip, hop, and bounce around so carelessly. Now, all she does is make a lot of necessary noise.
With as much force as hesitation, she opens the screen door to Jenna Malloy’s charming cottage. Her muscles tighten. Her mind spins in ten different directions.
“I’m so glad you came,” Jenna says, removing Bertie’s black sweater, a barrier meant to conceal Bertie’s weight gain but how could Jenna know? Doctors said she wouldn’t live long enough to see any substantive weight gain but she had proven them all wrong by gaining twenty-eight pounds.
“Everyone’s so excited to see you,” Jenna says, embracing Bertie. “I know this can’t be easy.”
“Nothing’s easy.” Bertie tries to stand up straight.
Jenna places her forehead on Bertie’s shoulder. “I wish we’d have left that stupid bar earlier. I should have listened to you and taken the other route. You told me to, but I didn’t.”
“No worries,” Bertie whispers. “It’s done.”
“I’m sorry,” Jenna whispers. “I’m so sorry.”
“But you’re here now.” Jenna sounds chipper, shaking her hair back into place. “You came. And we’re gonna have so much fun tonight.” Friends since preschool, Bertie knows that Jenna only ever uses her chipper voice if things are bad or about to get really bad.
“So which is it?” Bertie asks.
“Things are great.” So chipper.
Bertie listens for typical party noises—mumbling, laughing, clinking glasses—nothing. If they’re so excited to see me, why didn’t they come and meet me at the door?
“Ready?” Jenna claps her hands.
“Actually I’m not.”
“Don’t be a chicken.”
“Is John here?” Bertie peeks over Jenna’s shoulder.
“He brought Jasmine. I hope that’s okay.”
“Jasmine.” Bertie elongates. “So she does have a name.”
“They brought their little baby, Johanna. She’s so cute.”
“Perfect.” Bertie huffs.
“Well, I couldn’t hardly tell them not to bring her. I mean, they were so insistent and she’s so little.”
“It’s fine. It’s not the baby’s fault.”
“I got your favorite Merlot and all your favorite stinky cheeses.” So, so chipper.
Bertie notices Jenna’s shiny black Stiletto’s. “I think I’ll wear my sweater after all.”
“You look fine.” She pulls Bertie. “We’re all in our late twenties now. We’ve all put on a little weight. So what.”
“I think I’m gonna go.”
“Come on, Bee.” Jenna used to call her Bee. Bee and Nena, best friends forever.
“Just tell them I was never here.” Squeak thump all the way to the car.
“But they must have heard you and I saw you with my own eyes.”
“I was only ever a figment of your imagination anyway.”
“Don’t say that.” Jenna shuts the door. “You were so much more.”
“Go back to the party. They’re gonna get worried.”
“But they came to see you.” Jenna stands in the middle of the street. “They want to know how you’re doing.”
“Maybe tomorrow,” Bertie yells out the window. “Or maybe never ever again.”
“Bee.” Jenna runs barefoot behind the car, light from the lampposts blinding her from seeing anything but thick fog glooming up ahead.
~ Foyer First
|Last Updated on Sunday, 18 March 2012 10:17|