Friday, October 16, 2009

Chapter 9

That weekend, Catherine had come to visit Suzannah. All week Suzannah excitedly spoke about it. She said Catherine was nice and described her as having dark brown hair and a dark complexion.

Anyway, on Saturday Catherine was going to come in from her new house in Michigan and spend the night at the Rawlings' while her dad did business and stayed at a local hotel. Saturday turned out to be a briskly cold day. An early December frost clung to the air, reminding all that winter was drawing near.

It turned out that Arnold was going to come over, and he said he wouldn't mind going to the Rawlings' if I wanted to. So, I called Suzannah to find out if it was all right if Arnold came. She sounded, quite noticeably, very pleased with the idea.

Arnold came over at noon and we went to the Rawlings' house at one. Suzannah came to the door almost right away. I could tell she had spent more time than usual doing her hair and she had put a little make-up on. She smiled at us.

Catherine was nothing like I imagined. For some reason I imagined her to be fat and short. But Catherine was of medium height and exceptionally skinny. Suzannah often referred to her as "the human toothpick." Her teeth were as white as a sheet of typing paper and they shone with the radiance of a thousand twinkling starts of a pitch black sky. She wore a pair of pink glasses and her eyes were as brown as a tree trunk. She elbowed Suzannah when she saw Arnold and Suzannah gave her a keep-your-mouth-shut-or-else look.

After exchanging hellos, we went upstairs and, by the time Arnold and I were ready to leave, we had trashed Suzannah's room, which hadn't been too clean in the first place. The first thing Suzannah did when we got up the stairs was to scout around her room while we waited in the hall. She said she wanted to put away "anything that was unsuitable for male eyes." After hearing a lot of drawer slamming, she invited us in.

I plunked myself down on her bed, which meant that I promptly found myself seated on two pairs of jeans, a sweatshirt, a comb and a brush, a trial size can of hairspray (which Suzannah never used because she hated hairspray), a deoderant stick, a notebook, and a pile of miscellaneous papers. Suzannah sat down on her teddy bear collection in the corner of her room, and Catherine sat on a pile of Nancy Drew books. Arnold was about to sit on the chair by the desk, but Suzannah screamed out "No! Not there!" and he looked down and under a jacket, found an electric typewriter. Sheepishly, he seated himself on the floor (actually, it was a bath towel and an old school bag) against her dresser.

When the tedious problem of finding a place to sit was over, a bit of light-hearted teasing went on. It was a lot of fun and we laughed a lot. I told stories from my old school and Suzannah and Catherine told me about the many fights they had with Scott. The comebacks that the girls used were hilarious.

Catherine then asked Suzannah if she had used her witch-powers lately. Suzannah got annoyed and said, "They're not witch-powers, and how many times do I have to tell you I'm not a witch!"

Arnold raised his eyebrows. He was very religious and hated Satan and his followers. Suzannah gave Catherine a dirty look, and Catherine began to explain.

"One night, Suzannah and I were playing monopoly. I had agreed that if I landed on Pennsylvania Ave. before she did, I'd buy it. Then she'd trade me Park Place and $100 for it. At the last minute, I refused to trade. Suzannah was fuming. She said that every time I was on that side of the board, I'd land on Park Place. Well, the first two times I landed on it, I didn't think much about it. But after four times, I got really freaked out!"

Arnold's mouth dropped open. He was in total shock. I was amazed. At my old school, we talked about things like curses, but never was really serious about it. Yet there in Suzannah's room, Arnold was captivated by the idea. Catherine was scared of it, and Suzannah frowned.

"I'm not a witch!" she exclaimed. "Witches practice magic and make deals with the devil. I don't really force my curses, they just come. Witches ask for them and make them. Besides, Jewish people don't believe in the devil."

She then made an attempt to change the subject. It worked and within minutes, the fun, light-hearted, spirit was back. We played board games. (Not Monopoly, even though Catherine wanted to. Arnold would not go near the game with Suzannah around.) We also played things like Truth-or-Dare. The afternoon was a success,

I know though, that as long as I live, I will never forget that afternoon. The afternoon I learned maybe, just maybe, that parapsychology was really possible.

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Oh, the hilarity!