Friday, October 16, 2009

Chapter 11

The Rawlings said how sorry they were and Suzannah put her arm around my shoulders. They all tried to comfort me, even her little sister, Diana. Diana was tall for her age and Suzannah was short, so Diana was about the same height as Suzannah. But all the same, you could tell Suzannah was older because she was more mature looking.*

We had Irv's Red Hots for dinner and it was a hilarious dinner conversation. The Rawlings had succeeded: they cheered me up.

After dinner, Suzannah, Diana, and I played video games. Then we played a fast paced game of Monopoly. We played a few computer games and watched a movie on cable T.V. By the time the movie was over, it was 11:00. Mrs. Rawlings had lit a fire in the immense white marble fireplace. Everyone else had gone to sleep and Suzannah lay down and stretched out on the carpeted floor. She looked at me contemplatively with those big, brown eyes and began to ask me questions.

"Did you like your old school?"

I didn't answer right away. I thought about my old school, the old brick building, the timy playground for the younger kids, the many trees that surrounded the school like a protective fence.

I thought about how old the school was, and about how the town cemetery was right behind it. I thought about the kids who went there, and how nice they were, and I thought about my old best friend, Hal.

When I shut my eyes I could feel the seat of my old desk underneath me, and I could hear the rusty bell cling that it was time to start school, change classes, or go home, depending on which the three qualified at the time. When I concentrated hard, I could even smell the food from the cafeteria, and I could see the students of the 31st Street School as they changed classes.

I thought about how I missed it, and when I finally answered Suzannah, it was in a voice coming from far away, one that got lost on the path of memories.

"Yeah. Yeah, I liked my old school a lot. You would have liked it there, too. It was old, over 100 years old. The kids were all nice, not snobs."

"It was old?" Suzannah asked. "I love old stuff." Her eyes sparkled, then dimmed a little. She cocked her head to one side and gently asked, "Do you miss it a lot?"

Memories flooded back like a river bursting through its banks. I thought about when I first met Hal in kindergarten. I thought about how much I missed him and it hurt.

"Yeah, I miss it a lot."

Suzannah shut her eyes, and was quiet for a long, long time. When she opened them, her eyes reflected deep thought. When she spoke again, it was slowly.

"Do you like anyone from this school? You could have them, you know. You could have anyone you want."

It was the first time she had ever said something like that. When I looked at her, she was gazing into the fire. Wisps of black hair fell into her face and she brushed them awayu. Her skin looked soft and was a delicate shade of ivory. The circles under her eyes were dark, as if she stayed up too late too many nights. She looked, despite the circles under her warm brown eyes, perfect and beautiful.

Then I thought about her question. Before I answered, I had a question to ask her.

"Suzannah, do you like Arnold, or something?"

Her gaze left the flames. She looked at me with a pained expression on her face.

"I'm so scared. Someone more popular and much prettier than me could just come along and take him. I have no chance." Her eyes glistened as unshed tears welled up and begged to be released. She looked back into the fire.

I took her answer as a yes. I wasn't sure who Arnold liked, but I knew that he wouldn't easily be swept away by some popular bitch. I told this to Suzannah and watched hope slowly seep into her face.

"Please. Don't tell anyone! OK?" her voice pleaded with me.

"Don't worry! For Godsake, you'r my best girl friend! You know me better than that!" I replied.

Suzannah smiled. "You're right. I'm sorry. I hope I didn't insult you."

"Don't worry about it. You didn't."

"Oh. Good."

"Suzannah?"

"Yeah?"

"What do you really want to do with your life?"

She looked at me, her brown eyes gazing deeply into mine. "After high school, I want to go to Northwestern or University of Chicago. They're good schools, you know."

I nodded impatiently. She continued. "I want to major in Political Science and minor in business or law. If I want to become a lawyer, I want to be a criminal lawyer and prosecute criminals. If I major in business, I want to become a business executive."

Her eyes were dreamy.

"But, most of all, I want to be a politician. I know I can make the country a better place. I can make a difference. I know it will be hard because I'm not only a female, but Jewish, too." She paused briefly. "More than anything, I want to be a politician. I want to get married. My husband and I will eat off paper plates. If he wants dishes, he'll have to wash 'em. I refuse to cook, and he'll have to do his part of the cleaning and laundry. I don't want kids. I can't stand them. All there are is no. one costly, and 2) trouble! Besides, I'd refuse to stay home with the little brats."

I laughed at the thought of Suzannah with kids.

"I answered your question, not you tell me what you want to be!" Suzannah demanded.

Besides my family and Arnold, no one had ever asked me what I wanted to be.** I excitedly answered right away.

"I want to be a pediatrician." At first, Suzannah looked horrified at the idea at working with children, but then she smiled. I went on.

"I want to live in a modern house and get married. I would like to have two kids, hopefully one boy and one girl."

"I bet you'd be a great doctor!" Suzannah exclaimed.

A light flicked on upstairs. Mr. Rawlings appeared at the head of the stairs.

"Hey, you kids! It's a little late, don't you think? Go to bed!"

Suzannah opened her mouth to argue, but closed it with a snap. Sighing, she got up and as she trudged up the stairs, I followed.

*Author/transcriber's note: For the record, the manuscript originally said "she was well developed," but at some point I scribbled over that with pen, and then over that with pencil, changing it to "more mature looking." I find this so hilarious that it merits a foot note.
**Author/transcriber's note: except for Suzannah in a previous chapter, but whatever... I am impressed that I managed to forgot that I already wrote this scene,but that it is entirely consistent with the earlier one.

3 comments:

  1. i'm waiting for the next installment!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You guys are good friends. :) I'll get more up on Sun and Mon.

    ReplyDelete

Oh, the hilarity!