Thursday, March 25, 2010

4. The Aftermath

When Wendy pulled up to my house, I hesitated to get out.

We sat in silence for a few moments. "What's wrong, Professor?"

"I can't tell Ellie."


"Why? Because I just mutated like a freak in a comic book, Wendy. I don't even know if that's what it was. I can't even explain it!"

"Well maybe you don't have to for right now. At least until I take you to meet- ... just say you don't feel well. It was something you ate. That will explain your face."

"My face?! What's wrong with my face?!" I immediately pulled the passenger side visor down and looked in the mirror. It was dark in the car, but I felt clammy and flushed, even now.

"Your color hasn't returned yet. You've been white as a sheet for the past half hour."

I looked down at my hands, which seemed to shake weakly. It was as if any strength I ever had was gone. I could barely unbuckle my seat belt. Wendy was burrowing worry into my face with a heavy intensity. "Would you like me to walk you to the door?"

"That's very sweet, Wendy. But I'll be fine. It just feels like my muscles have turned to jell-o. Like I can't move unless I concentrate really, really hard. And I can't concentrate because my brain feels like jell-o, too..." I felt tears coming again. I willed them back down.

Before I could protest, Wendy was out of the car, walking around the hood, and opening my door for me. She reached in and took one of my hands, as I focused all of my might on pushing myself out of the car. I was shaky, but I was standing on my own two feet. The crisp, damp air seemed to help a bit.

One step, after the other. Slowly we walked. It suddenly occurred to me that I might have Parkinson's disease ... but I quickly dismissed that notion. Parkinson's didn't happen all at once. It was gradual and slow. And while I wasn't an authority on the subject, I had never heard of any Parkinson's patient having an intense bout of strength and ripping up furniture as a starting symptom of the disease.

Then, with blinding clarity, I thought about Ellie. What was I going to say? How could I even start? Would she leave me? NO. Don't be ridiculous! my thoughts yelled at me. Just stay calm. Let's figure out what this is before we worry anyone. I didn't have any earthly idea of how I was going to "figure it out." But I promised myself I would.

By the time I reached the end of my mental dissertation, Wendy was knocking on the front door. "Why are you knocking?" I asked.

"Because it's not my house, professor."

Fair enough, I thought. The door opened slowly. Ellie looked annoyed that someone was coming to call at such a late hour - 9:00 p.m. was Ellie's equivalent to midnight. "Oh hi Wendy! Where's -" Then she saw me. Her face went from politely puzzled to beyond worried when she saw my face. "Angie! What happened? What's the matter? You look like a ghost! Do you have a fever? Are you nauseous? What's your temperature?" She put the back of her hand to my forehead. "You're freezing! Wendy, will you help me get her inside?"

Within the course of her rapid-fire questions, I had opened and closed my mouth at least five times, trying to answer and explain. But I couldn't - and she wouldn't let me. Wendy looked at me, and then at Ellie.

"I think it was something she ate, Ellie. In the middle of the ... lecture," here Wendy rolled her eyes, ever so slightly, "Professor Derrick ran out the door. I found her in the bathroom after it was over."

Well, it could have been true.

Ellie looked at me an smiled wryly, but with love in her eyes. "No doubt the lecture made you sick to your stomach, eh, my love? Come on," she laced her fingers with mine. "Let's get you into bed. I think we have some club soda in the pantry."

I slowly started to rise to my feet. I looked Wendy in the eyes. "Thank you, Wendy. You're a life-saver."

"Any time, professor. I'm just glad I was there." She looked back at me knowingly.
After Ellie put me in bed, she saw Wendy to the door. I heard Ellie's voice raise a bit. "Please take it, Wendy. You didn't need to drive her home. Think of it as gas money."

Wendy was usually too proud to take anything from us on the occasions that would otherwise clearly delineate payment; dog-sitting, data-entry, driving me home after a mysterious, nightmarish freak attack. I heard her grumble and walk away. She must have taken the money. Something told me that Wendy's stubbornness by way of payment had to do with her sense of family - we were apart of her Wellesley family - she did what she did because she loved us, not because she wanted to be paid. The offer of money was an affront to her sense of loyalty. We felt the same way, only from the opposite point of view. Is it unnatural for parent figures to slip their respective "children" a $20.00 bill every now and then? It was the best war that neither of us won gracefully.

Ellie walked into the bedroom with a cup of club soda and a napkin full of crackers. "I don't know if you're ready to eat anything, but just in case."

"Thank you, sweetheart." I said, weakly. I felt positively exhausted.

Ellie climbed into bed, and kissed me softly on the cheek. "Was it really bad?"

I slowly turned my head to look at her. "It was the worst thing I've ever sat through. She insulted the school, she insulted the faculty, she insulted the students - she said that Wellesley and the faculty were pushing a liberal agenda, and were recruiting the students into lesbianism, via the means of brainwashing. She must have mentioned the word 'God' 100 times during her ... lecture."

"Oh God. What did the students do?"

"They practically rushed the stage. They were standing and screaming and booing. It was around that time that I ... went to the bathroom."

"My poor love. What did you have to eat today?"

I couldn't think of anything except that morning. Did I have anything to eat? "Coffee, and the omelette I made this morning."

"That's it?!" She seemed highly annoyed.

"Well once I got to my office, I didn't stop all day."

"No wonder you got sick, honey! Coffee is not a meal, dear, it's an accessory. It'll tear up your stomach."

I winced, "I know, I know. I'm sorry. I just-"

She kissed me. "No, I'm sorry. You're not feeling well, and I'm lecturing you. I think there's been enough lecturing for one day. Here," she gave me a smile. "Can I get you anything else?"

"No. Just you." I wrapped her arm around my stomach. "Just hold me."

"Always," She whispered.

I hope so, I thought.
Ellie woke me at 7:00 a.m. the next morning, kissing my shoulder. "Honey, how are you feeling? Should you call in sick, or are you going to go to work?"

"Errrmmmmmm. I'm okay. Need to lecture on Keats today. Can't get behind."

"Are you sure you're okay? Keats can wait. He's been dead for years."

I rolled over onto my back, eyes half closed. "I promise." I fell back asleep for another half hour or so. I smelled the delicious scent of batter from the kitchen. When I opened my eyes, a stack of blueberry pancakes was sitting on my nightstand. My favorite.

"What's the occasion?" I sat up.

"No occasion. I figured you deserve a hearty breakfast in case you decide to commit to another hunger strike today."

"Ha. Ha. It's Wendy's TA day. I'm guaranteed to have some kind of lunch. But thank you!" I smiled like a 7 year old as I cut into the pancakes. No one made better blueberry pancakes than Ellie. They were so good, they almost helped me banish the memories from the night before ... almost.

After I finished my pancakes, I took a shower. The sensations of the night before flooded back with the fall of the water. Flashes of anger, pain, the heat of my skin, the red in my eyes, the feel of my hands ripping off the arm rest of the auditorium chair, the thrum of my heart in my ears and chest - the hateful words turning over and over in my mind. I actually did start feel nauseous. I put my hand up on the wall of the shower to steady myself. I turned off the shower, and stood there dripping as I checked my pulse. It was racing. "Breathe," I whispered. "Just breathe." Tears started coming from my eyes. I wanted to fade down the drain with the shower water. Why was this happening to me?

"Honey, are you okay?" Ellie's voice startled me. I took a deep breath.

"Yeah sweetheart. I'm fine." I pulled the towel over my hair and started drying the excess water. Go away, whatever-you-are, I will fight you. GO AWAY.... I gritted my teeth. I was going to beat this thing or die trying. I wiped the condensation from the mirror, and looked at my face - it was white again. Fuck. I pinched my cheeks, trying to rouse some color. I put my bathrobe on and walked into the bedroom.

"I thought maybe you weren't feeling well again."

"No, I'm okay. Thanks though." I walked to the closet and started taking out clothes.

Ellie walked up behind me and wrapped her arms around me. "Are you sure you're okay? You could stay home with me all day. In bed." She kissed my neck.

I turned to face her, twirling my fingers in her hair. "That would be amazing. But I need to teach Keats before the end of the semester, otherwise I'll have Sue breathing down my neck about syllabi and coursework. Besides, I don't want Wendy to worry."

"Why would she worry?" She looked a bit confused. "She brought you home. Did you feel worse than what you told me?"

I didn't know what to say. I felt my pulse quicken again. "You know how Wendy is. If she doesn't get a full report on the rest of the night, I'll be quizzed all day long, and then she'll call the terrible nurse down at the  medical center. And you know how much I love her." I felt my resolve failing. Change the subject, Angie. "Can I take a rain check for a day in bed, though?"

"Of course. You'll be sorry though. I'm going to call you through the day and taunt you." She smiled wickedly.

"My love, that's not a threat. That's a gift."

"I love you. Now get dressed and go teach young people about old dead ones." She kissed me, and left for the kitchen.

I sat down on the bed, feeling miserable. I need answers. Now.
The morning passed by relatively quickly. The students were still buzzing about our night's firebrand of a guest. I had given the assignment of writing Keatsian poetry about a personal experience, and didn't think till later that the completed assignments would be all about Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Even thinking about her name threw my body into a heightened alert. So I tried to refocus to Ellie, or the puppies, or Shakespeare. Anything else.

I picked up the phone to call Dave. Could I tell him? Would he believe me? Maybe if I told him first, it would help ease the initial shock of telling Ellie. It was like coming out all over again. I put the receiver down. Wait till he get's back. Don't do it over the phone. 

There was a knock at the door. "Come in."

"Hi professor. How are you feeling?" She was approaching me slowly, as though any sudden movements would throw me into a fit.

"I'm fine, Wendy. I'm not epileptic - sudden movements won't throw me into hysteria. I hope."

"Do you remember me saying that I had an idea - of someone you could talk to?"

"Vaguely. But how is that possible? I don't think therapy is going to help. I suppose I should go see a doctor, maybe get some tests done. But I feel ... at a loss. I don't know if it would help."

"What I'm thinking of isn't therapy, or medical assistance. It's something else."

"Something else? Like what? Please don't tell me you're talking about holistic medicine and essential oils and crystals and chanting ..."

"No, professor. You know me better than that. No. There's someone you can talk with. In the library."

I paused ... expecting something else. But nothing else came.

"The library?"


I put my head in my hands. "Mrs. Lloyd isn't exactly my idea of a confidante, Wendy." Mrs. Lloyd, the librarian, was 70 years old, incredibly near-sighted, and couldn't hear to save her life. She did love Victorian poetry, though, and always found out-of-print volumes for me to look through. She was dear, but she wasn't anyone I wanted to pour my heart out to.

"It's not Mrs. Lloyd who I'm talking about." She stopped, briefly, slightly frustrated. "Look, you're not going to believe me unless you see for yourself. But I think she's the only chance you have at figuring this out."

I looked at Wendy, trying to figure out if she'd gone mad, or if she'd merely been doing drugs. "Okay." I'd already lost my body, my mind might as well follow. "Let's go to the library. This is insanely cryptic. But I trust you."

"You should bring one of your rare books."

"Wendy. Seriously. I'm freaked out enough as it is-" She grabbed my 1919 snake-skinned covered copy of Tennyson from my shelf. "Careful!"

"It's okay, professor. She loves Tennyson."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

3. Metamorphosis

That Thanksgiving was the most joyful, fun, and relaxed Thanksgiving I had had in a really long time. With Dave and Ellie sitting on either side of me, I felt complete in a way that I couldn't explain. It was just right. And I was so grateful. Imagine - gratitude at Thanksgiving! Dave, Ellie, and I went outside and played touch-football with the children of Ellie's brother and sister, we stuffed ourselves to the brim, we played cards after dinner - it was postcard perfect.

Dave left us the next day. He said he had something to do, but wouldn't divulge specifics. I had a feeling that it somehow involved his parents, but I didn't push him. 

Ellie and I spent the weekend in quiet, marital bliss. We cooked, we read to each other, we watched movies, we walked the dogs, I graded papers, Ellie cleaned up photos on her Mac from her last shoot - we made love as though we were making up for lost time - and we were. It made Monday morning all that much harder to face, though Ellie wasn't going to have leave again for some time. But face it I did. 

I woke up in a preternatural good mood. Usually Ellie was the one to wake me up, through a variety of different avenues (and not all of them nice). But today - nothing could go wrong today. I slipped out from beneath the sheets, covering Ellie's shoulders so she wouldn't get cold. I pulled on my bathrobe, started the coffee, and looked to see what I could make for breakfast. Eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese, onions, bell peppers - I started whisking eggs for omelets. 

Coffee done, omelets on the plate and (almost) perfect, sourdough toast hot and buttered, I walked back into the bedroom and put the plate on her bedside table. She moved her head a little, but didn't stir. I kissed her lightly - she groaned. I started nibbling on her ear...


"It's 6:30."

"What are you doing?"

"Cooking you breakfast, you lazy bum." One eye flew open at the mention of 'breakfast.' It took her awhile to find the plate with one roving eye, but find it she did. Then both eyes opened, and she smiled. 

"I love you," she said.

"I love you," I replied. We ate our breakfast in bed. To any onlooker, I'm certain that vomiting would ensue in mass proportions. But it was moments like this that I never wanted to leave - that I wanted to stretch out for every hidden morsel of memory. I had never thought I could be this happy, but I received reminders all the time - and this was one. 

I kissed her one last time, and went to go shower. 
I parked my car in the faculty parking lot with the thought of kissing Ellie good morning still lingering close by. I was walking with a slight grin on my face, saying hello to colleagues and students alike. I could actually be productive and get my grading finished today, I could - 

"Dr. Derrick."

I was arrested from my thoughts by the sound of Dean Warren's voice, her short legs clipping along, trying to keep up with my long ones. "Good morning, Dean. How are was your weekend?"

"Just fine thanks. My sister came over with my nieces. John and I cooked. It was lovely. How was yours?"

"It was fabulous. Ellie came home, and I found an old frie-"

"Lovely. Angela, I need a favor." My boss had an incredibly annoying habit of not listening and not caring, which lead to massively rude interruptions that no one on my faculty panel could stand. She would usually follow up the interruption asking for something that was bound to make the subject of her scrutiny groan in horrifying agony. She paused for recognition.

"Sure Sue, how can I help?" I was determined to grin and bare it.

"Phil was going to present the lecturer tonight at the campus convocation, but his son is receiving some award from the Elk's Lodge or something, and he can't do it. Can you?"

"Oh. Well actually I had plans with Ellie tonight, but if you-"

"Great. Thanks so much. You're a life saver." She also interrupted when she knew the answer was yes. She did that to me a lot. "I'll e-mail you the details after my morning class."

"Okay, great." I mostly said this to myself, and it was mostly sarcastic. By the time I opened my mouth to reply, her tiny legs were scurrying her off to places unknown, and people more unfortunate than I. 

I sighed, and kept walking, adjusting my leather messenger bag, and switching hands for my coffee. I pulled out my cell phone and called Ellie.

"Wow, you can't get enough, can you? I'm having lunch with George, so I can't meet you at your office for a quickie. I'm sorry."

"Smart ass. I'm actually calling to cancel on you."

"What?! Why? It's only Monday - they can't have you jumping hoops this early."

"This is Sue Warren we're talking about - of course they can. She caught me first thing this morning, the weasel. I have to introduce the lecturer at the convocation tonight. Which means that I have to stay for the whole thing."

"Oh. Well that's not too bad. How late do you think it'll be?"
"It starts at 7:00 p.m., so I'll be home by 9:00 p.m."

"Well fine. I'll just have to call my other wife to see if she's available. Who's speaking? Maybe I'll come."

"I actually can't remember, and I haven't passed any posters yet, oddly enough. As soon as I find out, I'll send you an e-mail."

"Okay. Well have fun. Don't let the weasel get you down."

"Heh. Thanks. I love you."

"I love YOU! I'll see you later."
I didn't go to my office before class. Even with my run-in with Sue, I was in too good a mood to punish my students with the curriculum. I told them to grab their bags and follow me. Puzzled, the followed behind, except for Wendy, who was pressing me for information about my weekend. I gave her the Thanksgiving menu in great detail until she seemed satisfied that I had not spent my weekend eating microwaved burritos and rice. 

I took my eight students out for coffee, and asked them to free-write for class; about their weekend, observations about Thanksgiving - whatever they wanted. At the end of the hour, I let eight seniors toddle off into the world, a little less stressed than when they had come to me. Wendy told me she'd be by for her TA hours, as per usual, and ran off to join a friend. I walked to my building. 

My office was in the same disarray as I had left it on Wednesday. I set down my bag, and powered up my laptop. No phone messages, thankfully. My computer finished booting, and I clicked into my Outlook account. Lots of generic campus safety - all campus warnings about locking doors, and not walking alone after dark, blah blah blah. Delete, delete, delete. Ahhhhh, finally. There was Sue's e-mail. I clicked it open.

To: Derrick, Angela C.
From: Warren, Susan J. 
10:04 a.m.
Here is the information for tonight's convocation. Attached, you'll find Phil's introduction. See? The work's already done for you. Thanks again for doing this.
- Sue
The Diana Robinson Lecturing Endowment presents it's 23rd guest lecturer, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, on the Wellesley Campus, Monday, November 28th at 7:00 p.m. in the Jewett Auditorium. This is a free, campus-wide event. Tea and coffee will be served in the lobby afterwards. 

I read it over a couple of times, racking my brain to recall Elisabeth Hasselbeck - but I came up short. I resorted to a google search, discovering that this person was on The View - a show I had never seen, let alone had any interest in. Why were we hosting this lecture? I couldn't glean any connection she had to the world of literature or writing. Must be a co-sponsored lecture with Media Studies. Why couldn't they do the introduction? I printed out the attachment and set it aside. Dance, monkey, dance! I forwarded the e-mail to Ellie. 

I grabbed the pile of papers in my messenger bag, opened up my grading spreadsheet, and started inputting the marks into my file. Three hours passed by completely unnoticed, when Wendy knocked on my door.

"Come in." I didn't look up.

"Hi Professor. How goes the grading?"

"Almost done, actually. What time is it?"

"1:00. Do you want me to file those papers in the cabinet?"

"Sure Wendy, that would be great." I turned back to my data input. Then I had a thought. "Hey Wendy, do you know who Elisabeth Hasselbeck is?"

"UGH!" A sound of utter disgust that only Wendy could produce. "Yes. She's speaking here tonight, you know. I'm not going." She sounded very decided.

"Why not? I don't know anything about her, except that she's on the view, and is married to a NFL quarterback? What's wrong with her?"

She thought for a moment,"Professor, let's just say that she wouldn't be your cup of tea, and leave it at that. Her ideas are ridiculously archaic, and a disgrace to the female sex. She's setting us back 50 years a television program that is almost solely watched by female viewers. It's a travesty!"

"But ... what does she do?"

"She doesn't do anything! She sits on television for an hour, spouting her opinions with idiotic volume. She's just a two-bit celebrity with blonde hair and pressed nails. She went to Boston College. She probably wasn't accepted at Wellesley." Wendy said this with an air of superiority which I was greatly amused by.

"So why is she speaking here?"

"I honestly don't know. The Women's Alliance tried to appeal to the the president, claiming that such a speaker was unfit for the leading women's institution in the country. She just told us that as the leading women's institution in the country, we had the responsibility of listening to all view-points, no matter the content. Bullshit."

"You didn't say that to the president, did you?"

"Of course not. But I thought it. Loudly."

"I have to introduce her tonight. Professor Holt had to cancel."

The look of complete and utter pity that crossed over Wendy's face was palpable. I could feel sorrow radiating in waves from her skin. "Oh Professor! I am so sorry!"

"Oh God, is she that bad? Shit. I had to cancel dinner with Ellie for this. I should have known they'd do something like this to me."

"I'll go with you."

"Wendy, you don't need to do that. Especially after that bolstering display of excitement. I'll be fine. I'll just sit by the door."

"Trust me, professor. You'll want someone there."

The message alert sounded ominously on my laptop. I clicked open a new e-mail from Ellie:

To: Derrick, Angela C.
From: Mason, Ellie S.
1:30 p.m.

Oh Boy. I'm sorry love, but you're on your own. Good luck. I'll have dinner and a stiff drink ready for you when you come home. 

Whatever you do, don't pay attention.
I had a late lunch on campus, and mostly forgot about the evening's pending events. I graded more papers, prepared my lessons for the week, and put my office into some semblance of order. It no longer resembled massive hurricane debris. While I marveled at my own productivity, Wendy's knock was back at my door.

"Are you ready for this?" She asked with the enthusiasm of a Death Row inmate. 

"I have no idea what 'this' is. So maybe I have the upper-hand."

"Trust me professor, no one has the upper hand. This is a lose-lose situation."

"Again, you really don't have to come, Wendy. I'll be fine." I smiled encouragingly, belying my state. I was dreading this more and more. There were just too many omens that couldn't be ignored. 

"No way, Professor. You need a wing-man...err, woman. It's unfair otherwise."

Great. Way to lift my expectations, Wendy. "Okay then." I said. "Let's get this fiasco over with."

We walked down the stairs, and out into the crisp November air. Clouds were building, coming from the North. It smelled like snow. Oh swell; foreshadowing. I checked in with the staff members from the publicity department. They asked me if I was all set. I affirmed that I was. They told me that the student body president would introduce me, and then I would introduce Elisabeth. Dance, monkey, dance!

Wendy and I found seats by one of the side exits. "It's our only hope!" Wendy had said. Twice. By this point, I believed her. 

Then, Elisabeth walked into the room. She sat was talking with her handlers who were talking with the university's PR people. It was suddenly very Hollywood. One of the handlers pointed at me, and I suddenly felt awkward. I pretended to read my notes. Then, she walked over. 

"Hi Professor Derrick."

Technically it's Doctor Derrick. "Hi, how are you?"

"Thanks for doing this. I really appreciate it."

"Uh, sure. No problem. Happy to." I smiled akwardly. 

"Did you have any questions about my CV?"

It's not a CV - it's a paragraph about your life. "Uh, no. It seems pretty cut and dry."

"Great. Well thanks again." She walked away. Thank God.

Well that wasn't so bad. This might not be the train-wreck I thought! Just read it, listen for an hour, and you're home free!

Students started flooding in and rushing for seats. I stood against the wall, and made the mistake of glancing at Wendy, who was looking around nervously. It seemed we were both preparing for our executions. .Some of my other students caught my eye and waved - with just a hint of confusion as to why I was here. The more eyes I met, the more I understood that I had not been expected. Their's were looks of both amusement and shock, often blended with a side of incredulity. 

The ushers closed the doors, the lights went dim, and the Student Body President walked up to the podium. "Good evening, women of Wellesley. Before we begin, I've been asked to remind you to turn off all cell phones, and to point out the exits," she gestured to the doors on either side of the hall, "in case of emergency. And now, without further ado, I give you one of our esteemed English professors, who wins the award for owner of the biggest dog on campus, and the coolest poetry professor ever .... Doctor Angela Derrick!"

Shouts and hollers climbed over a sea of clapping. If nothing else, I could at least take solace in my students. We could suffer through this together. I put my notes on the podium, smiled at the students before me, and waited for them to quiet down.

"Good evening, and thank you for that sublime introduction, Jessica." A couple of chuckles. "Ladies, tonight we're in for a treat. The departments of English and Media Studies are proud to give you tonight's guest lecturer, Elisabeth Hasselback." Politely enthusiastic clapping. "As a native Rhode Islander, Elisabeth is a New Englander through and through. An alumna of Boston College, Elisabeth's prestigious resume includes graphic design for the Puma Clothing Company, a stunning and gritty foray on the reality tv show Survivor: Australia, and most impressively, the fifth female voice of opinion on the exceedingly popular op.ed. program, The View. She is the mother of three, and is the proud wife of Seattle Seahawk's quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck. She's incredibly honored to be speaking in front of you today, and would like to thank God; without whom, nothing is possible." PAIN!!! "Without further ado, I give you Elisabeth Hasselbeck."

She walked up to the platform, I shook her hand, turned, and went to my seat by Wendy. Somehow, in the shoddy skimming job I had performed on the notes earlier, I didn't register any of that. Not one fact. Not one reference to God. Wendy gave me a pained and pitied look. I must have looked shell-shocked. 

She had been well into her "lecture" by the time I was prepared to tune in, and I so regret that I did. She was denying the merits of public option healthcare, and calling Democrats socialists - clearly, her argument was coming straight from the ire of Republic pundits with nothing better to do than take bribes from pharmaceutical companies. I had my head in my hand, trying to find a happier place within me, calculating if I could escape the auditorium unnoticed, and then flee toward safety...

And then, it happened. 

As I sat in forced silence, trying my own patience to its max, I heard the words "lesbian activists" and "Wellesley liberal brainwashing." I dropped my face from my eyes, and I looked at her for the first time. 

My eyes were transfixed - as much as I couldn't look before, now I couldn't look away! I felt my heart thrum faster in my ears, blood rushing to my head. She was telling the women of Wellesley that they were being lied to - that the "lesbian administration" was trying to "brainwash them" into not only the ultimate liberal agenda, but was trying to turn them gay. We were, according to her, recruiting them for our own nefarious purposes, book by blessed book, lesson by dykey lesson. Her adivce? For the women of Wellesley to drop out! Find God! and "See the light of the world, the truth of the country before it's too late! Before you're completely brainwashed - until your parents don't know you anymore!" 

The blood rushed faster, the echo of my heart quickened and became a lot louder. The edges of my vision reddened, like my eyes had just been filtered over with blood - I was vaguely aware that Wendy had her hand on my arm - I felt my nails digging into arm rests of the seat, fibers finding their way underneath my nails - the world seemed to be getting smaller - everything felt small; except for me. I was growing, I was gaining strength. My eyes were still fixed on her, locked as if the importance of everything in the world depended on it ... I wanted to hit her. No. I REALLY wanted to hit her - slam her head into the podium, drag from the hall, and throw her through the glass doors, fragments of glass exploding everywhere - it was an urge toward violence I had never felt in my life! Then I felt Wendy pulling on my arm...

"Uhm, Professor ... we need to go. NOW." 

I couldn't move - if I moved, I would throw her through the glass doors - I would shove her face into the podium. I felt the armrests disintegrate underneath my finger tips....

"Wendy....what's.....happening" I was trying to speak as low as I could, through gritted teeth - but everything felt louder, thicker, heavier. People were moving around me, my arm was fully extended, Wendy on the other end, pulling for all she was worth. 

"PROFESSOR - NOW!" She tugged my arm hard, and I followed, still looking at the demon at the podium. I could sense activity all around me - every inch of my skin felt like it was on fire. I could feel the head radiating from chest to my face, every muscle in my body was tense and ready to spring. Wendy somehow managed to pull me into a back hallway - the door to the auditorium closed shut; my eye-contact was broken. I couldn't see her anymore. The heat, my hands, my skin, the redness in my eyes - vanished. I felt my pulse slow, and my blood settle. I was back. 

I looked down. I was drenched in sweat. I was shaking. I looked at Wendy. 

"Wendy ... what just happened to me?" I was very deliberate and cautious with my words, desperate for an explanation.

"I ... I don't know, Professor." Her voice was tentative, scared, worried, full of care and concern. "You ripped up the chair. You ... you were glowing. And growling."

"Glowing? I felt I was on fire. And growling??"

"Y-Yes." I furrowed my eyebrows and immediately looked to the double doors, expecting a mob to come through. I wasn't sure, but I was pretty sure it wasn't normal. Wendy saw my panic and said, "I don't think anyone noticed but me. The student body was ready to riot, they all went out through the main doors. I pulled you back here."

"Oh God. Thank you. Thank you, Wendy. That's never happened before. I promise that's never happened before!"

"It's okay, Professor. It's going to be okay."

"No, it's not going to be okay. Something is wrong. Something is very wrong. Everything in me is different - I can feel it." I stumbled back against the wall - where I had felt so strong, not 5 minutes ago, I now felt like a new-born fawn - weak, stumbling, shaking. I started to cry.

"Professor, it's going to be okay. I have an idea. I'm not sure if it will work, but I know someone we can ask about ... about this."

"Wendy - promise me you won't tell anyone. ANYONE. Please."

"Of course not, Professor. I promise." She looked into my eyes with earnest, and grabbed my right hand. "Come on. I'm going to drive you home."

It wasn't until then that it hit me - Ellie

I sat in Wendy's car, tears silently rolling down my face in confusion and fear as we drove to the house.

My life would never be the same again. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

2. Home

I woke up after what seemed like hours later. I had visions of Dave parading in my brain; images from long ago, from a life that the both of us left behind willingly. Ellie later told me I was actually only out for about 30 seconds.

As I opened my eyes, two faces looked down at me anxiously.

"Sweetie, are you okay? No, don't move. Lie still." Ellie's voice sounded like it was coming from a mega-phone.

"Urrnnnnnn. What happened?"

"You fainted," Dave was looking down at me, grinning almost proudly.

"You're crazy, I've never fainted in my life. I'm fine." I went to stand up, my head protesting in about 30 different ways. I felt groggy and heavy. I tentatively touched the back of my head and applied a small amount of pressure. "Ow! Did I hit my head?"

"It kind of slammed backwards after you fell," Ellie had an arm wrapped around my upper back, supporting me. "Here, have some water." She gently pressed a pint glass into my hand. I had a vague awareness that our bartender friend had brought it to her.

I took a sip, and looked at Dave through one eye. "Dave, what in the hell are you doing here?" I was pissed.

"So you're not happy to see me?" He looked wounded and tired.

"Dave, I thought you were dead. They told me you were dead! Dead people don't just show up in Wellesley, Massachusetts unannounced, asking their ex-girlfriends if they're happy to see them! How are you not dead?"

"I was dead. Sort of. It's a long story."

"Well. We're in a bar. It's the night before Thanksgiving. What else are we going to do?"
Dave, or David, Burch was my high school sweetheart. We grew up together playing little league, climbing trees, attempts at building our own tree houses, pooling money to buy comics and bubble gum at the liquor store around the corner. I beat up Will Rant in the 4th grade when Will told Dave he looked like a metal freak (he had head gear at the time). Dave beat up Will Rant for me in the 6th grade when Will told me that I was the ugliest girl he had ever seen. Dave was there for me when my parents divorced, and I was there for him when his sister was hit by a car and died of internal injuries. He was my best friend, and I loved him.

So when Dave mustered up all of his courage to ask me out in high school, it just seemed to make sense. There was no other boy I liked so well as him, no other boy that I ever really cared about. Dave was also really good looking - Jennifer Murietta, the most popular girl in school, had a well known crush on Dave. There was no way I was going to let my best friend date the likes of Jennifer Murietta, so I said yes. And we were together all four years of high school. Formal dances, home coming games, his wrestling matches, my basketball games - we were always there for each other. Our senior year, we were voted "Best Couple," a photo of us smiling happily in the yearbook.

When it came time to go to college, we decided that going to separate schools would be good for the both of us. Dave wanted to become an architect, and I wanted to become a writer. It would be best, we reasoned, to follow our dreams and love each other, regardless of distance.

And then I met Kitty. And I realized WHY no other boys held my attention, and why I was never attracted to any but Dave, and that even my attraction to him was based in a fraternal, platonic love, rather than a passion for him. I called him from school and told him about Kitty. He didn't say anything except, "Okay." He hung up the phone, and I wasn't sure what to think. The conclusion I came to was needing to give him space. So I didn't call, and neither did he, and I let the throws of first love envelop me to the point of forgetting anything other than what I was experiencing.

I came home for spring break, and went over to Dave's house, hoping that we could talk face-to-face, so that I could apologize and maybe even try to explain. When his mother opened the door, she looked surprised to see me. She said hello just as warmly as ever, but she was clearly confused. I asked if Dave was home, and she looked even more puzzled. Didn't I know, she asked, that Dave enlisted in the Marines?

No. I didn't. She wrote down the address of where he was attending boot camp. I wrote, and I wrote, but he never answered me.

Over a year later, I heard from Dave's father than he joined an elite division of the Marines, and had been sent off to the Middle East on a specialty mission. He wouldn't even be able to contact his family. I tried not to think about him, but I couldn't help it. My best friend was somewhere that I couldn't follow, and I wasn't sure what do. Six months after he shipped out, the Marines informed Mr. & Mrs. Burch that Dave was missing in action. Another year went by, and the Marines declared him deceased. No one else from his division had survived whatever mission they had been sent to do. There was a funeral, and I watched a flag-covered casket being lowered into the ground. I read a passage of Tennyson's In Memoriam; I said my good byes, and I started moving on with my life.

Until this moment, Dave had been my one regret.

And now, here he was, sitting in front of me; the only one of his squad to survive.
"So, here I am."

I looked at him, pained and confused and sad and sorry. Then I wrapped my arms around him tightly. Finally, I said, "It's been years, Dave. You've been alive this whole time - where have you been?"

"I was in a vet hospital for a long time, but I didn't remember anything - I couldn't have told you my birthday, or my parent's names. And then one day, I did remember. It all came back to me, just like that. But I wasn't sure if I should come back. Everyone thought I was dead. The military showed me photos of the funeral - there was even one of you reading Tennyson and crying. And I looked at that photo and thought I'd be causing pain all over again if I came back. So I stayed away."

"What did you do? How did you survive?"

"I worked for the government for awhile, in a closed facility. But after what I went through - I was sick and tired of taking orders, and figured I had paid the government enough. So I took my pension and I traveled, worked odd jobs. I was a fisherman in Maine for awhile, I worked security in Cleveland for a couple years, and even made my way to British Columbia and worked as a lumber jack. That's where I was right before I came here."

"So why now? Why did you come out here after all this time."

"This is where the story gets ... interesting."

"Dave, you're back from the dead. What could be more interesting than that?"

"I had a dream."

I paused, waiting for more. Realizing he wasn't going to give it, I pushed him further. "A dream ... as in Martin Luther King? As in ... Don Quixote? What kind of dream?"

"It was about you."

"And....anything else, Dr. Cryptic? Am I the anti-christ that my aunt predicted?

"No. You're a super hero."
I thought that perhaps Dave's medication was mixing with his glass of scotch, so I let it drop. He didn't have any place to stay in Wellesley, and Ellie insisted he come home with us. Throughout the entire reveal of Dave's missing life, Ellie sat right next to me, her hand on my knee in quiet support. Ellie drove home, which given the condition of my head, seemed like a wise idea. I looked over at her, beaming gratitude from every pore of my skin. I wanted to get home and kiss her until we fell asleep.

We pulled into the driveway and put the car in park. I picked up one of Ellie's bags, and was stopped by her hand. "What do you think you're doing?"

"I'm grabbing your bags!"

"No you're not."

"I'm not?"

"No. You're going to go unlock the door, and then go lie down. You shouldn't lift anything in your condition."

"My 'condition?' What condition is that? You'd think I was pregnant." I gave Dave a wry smile, knowing he'd smile in a sign of solidarity.

Instead, he remained neutral, if not slightly worried and took Ellie's side. "She's right, Sluggo. Concussions are nothing to mess around with."

"Concussion? What concussion? I have a tiny bump on my head. I'm fine."

"Regardless, Angie, you're going inside." I didn't move. "Now, please."

I gave them both a scowl, then walked to the front door. The rhythmic thuds of dog tails pounded against the wall as I worked the key into the lock. "Okay girls, I'm coming." As soon as I opened the door, two black masses rushed toward me, throwing me against the wall. "I know, I know. It's so exciting! Mommy's home! Just wait till you meet Dave."

"Just wait till who meets - mmmmph!"

"Dave, meet Gertrude and Dame Maggie."

"These aren't dogs, Angie, they're horses!" Gertrude, the Newfoundlander was wagging herself around him in circles, while Maggie, the border collie was trying to herd him to the couch.

As soon as Ellie walked in the door, the over-joyed, over-grown horses pounced over and licked her up and down. "Hi babies! I'm home!"

I made up the spare room for Dave, while Angie fixed some tea in the kitchen. Dave was looking at the pictures and pieces of art hanging on our walls, as though he were looking for traces of me and who I had become. He walked into the spare bedroom as I finished tucking in the comforter.

"It's a nice place you have here, Angie. A nice life."

"Thanks Dave. I'm awfully fond it."

"I've missed you Angie."

"I've missed you too, Davey. I've missed you a lot." I wrapped my arms around him, feeling the actual-ness of him, the reality that he was alive. I started to cry.

Ellie walked through the door, holding two mugs. I backed away from Davey slowly. "Hi," I sniffed.

"Hi," she said. she handed Davey a mug, and then gave me mine. "We should go to bed, we have to be up early."

"Speaking of that, what time are you leaving? I'll call for a cab to pick me up."

I was about to protest, when Ellie said, "Don't be silly. You're coming with us to my parent's house for Thanksgiving."

Dave smiled, and nodded slightly. "Okay. Thanks, Ellie. It's been a long time since I had a real Thanksgiving."

"Good night, Davey. We'll see you in the morning." I said and grabbed Ellie's hand and started walking out of the room.

"Good night, Ladies."
Ellie and I lay in bed, arms and legs entwined. My eyes were closed, my lips kissing hers softly.

I stopped for a moment. "Are you okay with all of this?" I asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Well ... my only ex-boyfriend and best friend, who's supposed to be dead, shows up out of nowhere, at a bar we've never been in before, that we just happened to stop into on a random Wednesday. This was not a run-of-the-mill day."

"No, it certainly wasn't. But there's nothing for me to be okay about. He's important to you, so he's important to me. It's as simple as that."

"Are you sure?"

She kissed me.

I stopped worrying, and fell asleep in Ellie's arms.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

1. Of All the Gin Joints...

My life, to this point, had become about dust and books.

I sat at my desk, thumbing through a late Victorian copy of Tennyson's Idylls of the King, marking passages with ripped fragments of a document; the Dean's last memorandum, inciting the English Department toward recycling and energy conservation. Good employees read memorandums thoroughly and strive to achieve the goals outlined. That's exactly what I was doing. I'm a good employee.

A late afternoon ray of sun silently crept through my office window, casting shadows of branched leaves over my bookshelves. The sunlight accented the dust on my shelves in a highly offensive way, as if to say, "Yo, Angela, you missed a spot."

Fuck off, sun.

I finished marking the last passage of Tennyson with a scrap of torn paper that read:

"...indeed, it is our duty to...
post-consumer materials inherently redu- ... colleagues, we must help one an-..."

I closed the book with a punctuated thwap. Take that sunlight. Take that Dean Warren. I'm going home. I stood up, and reached for the pea coat slung haphazardly on the back of my office chair, and wrapped my scarf around my neck. It might have been sunny, but it was the middle of November - solar heat was a myth. I slung my messenger bag over my chest so that the bag was hanging diagonally down my back, and picked up a stack of papers as tall as my Newfoundlander. I could barely make out the top of my office door over the dead tree carcasses in my arms.

Keys ... I have keys around here somewhere ... on my desk ... next time put the keys in your pocket first, dumb ass ... if I could only find the ring ... maybe if I reach with my middle finger ...

"Hi Professor! I just stopped by to drop off my ter -  Professor! You're going to kill yourself! Let me help you!!"


Wendy Windsor stood somewhere in front of me, though I could only see pieces of her nut brown hair frantically swaying from one side to the other of the massive pile in front of my face. She took a large chunk from the middle of the pile before I could tell her that I had arranged the papers alphabetically, by class. Ah well. I'd do it again later. Have English nerd - will alphabetize.

Wendy Windsor was an incredibly petite student of mine, with straight bobbed hair and enthusiastic green eyes. She was the kind of student who lost pens in every pocket, of any article of clothing she happened to be wearing that day. And though sometimes clumsy, she was incredibly bright and well-liked by the other women of the college. She was constantly consuming non-sweetened iced tea in 16 ounce plastic cups with lids and bendy straws, which she purchased from the student coffee shop on the other end of campus. Other Wendy trade marks included a slight hint of jasmine - either from shampoo or lotion; a white and purple polka-dot scarf, worn through all-seasons due to constant coldness, and a navy blue and gold Wellesley College sweatshirt. She was a poster child, and she was my favorite.

"Hi Wendy. Thanks." I managed to blurt out. "I'm sorry, you stopped by to ...?"

"You're welcome, professor. I came by to drop off my end of term paper. I thought I'd turn it in early before you had to grade anything, but it looks like I'm really late!"

"No Wendy. You're not late, I am. These papers are the mid-terms." She stared at me blankly. "From last month. I thought I'd finally grade them over the long weekend. Wishful thinking, maybe."

"Oh Professor! I could come over and help, if you want!"

"Do you mean to tell me you have no plans? Four days of Thanksgiving break, and you're not going home? Are you kidding me?"

"No! I mean, yes, I was driving home after dropping this off, but I can stay! Seriously! A couple of my house mates are here all weekend anyway, and are-"


"But professor, I really can-"

"Wendy. Go home. The next month is going to be rough. Rest. Eat. Sleep. Do something crazy. Go see a movie."

"Are you sure? What are you doing for Thanksgiving, Professor? You're not going to be all alone grading papers and eating microwaved burritos, are you?!" She was referring to a Thanksgiving from two years ago. Wendy also had an impeccable memory.

"What? No. Where did you get that idea?!" She stared at me, and raised an eyebrow. "No. I promise. Ellie will be home, and we're going over to her parents house. I will be very human." Her eyebrow raised itself higher, as if that were possible. "Promise."

"Ellie will be home?"

"On my honor. I'm picking her up at the airport in a few hours."

"Okay. But if you do end up needing my help, send me an e-mail, okay? Home's only a couple of hours away."

"I will. And thank you. That's a very sweet offer."

"Can I at least help you carry these to your car?"

"You sure can. Except that I need to find my keys..." I felt something drop in the left pocket of my pea coat.

"Thanks Wendy."

I love picking Ellie up at the airport. Movies have worked hard to make airports unshakable symbols of romance - and I was never one to take painstaking symbolism for granted. It's a good thing that I love airports as much as I do - I've spent much of my adult life in them; coming and going, going and coming. But it was different with Ellie - heightened, somehow. We had met at an airport. We spent most of the early part of our relationship traveling back and forth to see each other. We were now spending our married life taxiing each other to and from for work. In essence, we were having a poly-amorous relationship with the airport. And we were okay with that.

Before 9/11, we would meet each other at the terminal, usually with flowers or bottles of water (what? air travel is dehydrating). However, since the drastic change of airport culture, we met each other at baggage claim. Tonight I brought a bottle of water. Best to keep it simple; she has a lot of luggage.

I sat on a bench across from the escalators, people watching. I watch people a lot - ever since I can remember, I would watch and invent imaginary lives for people I didn't know. I still do this. Some of them become quite inventive and intricate, though most only hypothesize at a relationship, and a reason for meeting. I was currently watching a little boy, about 4 or 5 years old, jump from floor tile from floor tile, making thruster-like sounds that came through puffed out cheeks and his top set of teeth biting his lower lip. There was a tall, dark haired man standing a few feet away - his father, I had guessed. They're waiting for Uncle Joe to arrive from a trip to Russia, where little do they know, Uncle Joe fell into some deep trouble with the Moscow Mafia over a gambling snafu, and he would have to surrender himself to the American consolate upon his return ....

"What, no welcoming committee?" said the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. I looked up, and saw her standing there, her lithe, tall frame covered by a zip-up fleece and jeans, her silver hair swept back in a pony tail. Her eyes were a dark greenish-blue, and sparkled slightly as she smirked at me.

I didn't say anything right away. Instead I stood up, pulled her against me, wrapping my arms around her, nuzzling my nose against her neck.

"Hi, you." I finally said.

"Hi yourself." She pulled away just enough to look me in the eyes. "Are you okay? You looked lost. I thought I might have to call for a policeman to come take you phrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm." I was kissing her, earnestly.

I pulled away to whisper in her ear, "I've missed you so much."

"I've missed you. Can we get my bags, and go home? Now?"

"Yeah. Let's do that."  I had forgotten, in my rapture, about the bottle of water still in my right hand. "Oh, I almost forgot. This is for you. Here."

"Thanks," she said, as she took my left hand in her right. We walked over to the baggage carousel, our fingers entwined. "So what were you thinking about back there?"

"Uncle Joe."

"You don't have an Uncle Joe. And neither do I."

"I know."

"You made him up," she looked around, and saw a likely candidate. "For that little girl over there, right? Let me guess, Uncle Joe is running from the cops because he robbed a bank to pay for her very costly heart-surgery, and he won't make it home in time for Thanksgiving, because he'll be in jail?"

"Uh, it was that little boy over there, and for your information, Joe is running from the Russian mob because of a gambling debt." I added, "Smartass."

Ellie chuckled wickedly, squeezed my hand harder, and put her head on my shoulder.

"It's good to be home," she said.

We decided to stop for a drink on our way home. I was constantly guilty of keeping our stores of food and beverages well below humanitarian standards.

As it was the night before Thanksgiving, and seeing as how we were in a small college town currently resembling the waning days of Tombstone, most of the pubs around town were closed. And when I say most, I mean all. Even the liquor stores had decided that procrastinators should be punished austerely, and flaunted their red neon signs as a punishment for bad planning. Heathens.

"It's okay, love. Let's just go home. There will be a lot of drinking tomorrow. I'm sure my father has more than enough."

"I'm sorry. One day I'll get better at grocery shopping, I swear I will."

"No you won't. But it's one of the many reasons I love you."

She smiled at me, teasingly. I turned toward the south side of campus, slowly making our way back home, when Ellie said, "Hey, there's a place back there that looks open."


"In that strip mall on the right, behind the pizza place."

"I don't see - Oh! I do see! Let's just grab a quick beer."

I pulled into the parking lot, which resembled an old mine-field of potholes and asphalt fissures. Most of the buildings around Wellesley were beautiful red brick or wooden frames from the 18th and 19th centuries, full of New England charm and Puritan simplicity. Even if the buildings weren't authentic, they were built to resemble authenticity. This strip mall was one of the few failed architecture ventures of the '70's that hadn't been torn down, for whatever reason. The neon sign on the roof read, "The Gin Joint."

"I feel like I'm about to go slumming with Humphrey Bogart," Ellie quipped.

"You should only be so lucky," I smiled at her. "I've heard some of the girls talk about this place. I think slumming is the general allure of this place. There's not another reason it's survived this long. The WASPs wouldn't stand for it otherwise."

We got out of the car, and I opened the bar door for Ellie. It was dimly lit inside, with chincy red pleather booths lining the walls, and swiveling captains chairs at the bar. The walls were paneled with fake dark wood, and there were yellowed and fading headshots of C list celebrities who, for whatever reason, made their way through Wellesley, Massachusetts. Signed, of course.

A blonde bartender with a buzz cut, and impressively thick facial hair was wiping glasses behind the counter. He didn't look up when we came in. There was one other person in "The Gin Joint," sitting in a corner booth, with an amber glass of something-on-the-rocks. We sat down at the bar.

Only then did the Viking man-child of a bartender look at us. "What'll you have?"

I took a quick glance at the tap selection: PBR, Sam Adams, and Budweiser. I suddenly realized this might be the kind of place that didn't believe in importing beer.

"I'll have a Sam Adams, please."

"And for you?" Viking boy asked Ellie.

"The same, please."

The bartender turned around, and quietly started filling the pint glasses at a diagonal angle.

"Nice place you have here," I said, entirely too cheerful.

Erik the Red's progeny just kind of grunted, and changed out the full pint glass for the empty. Ellie gave me a sideways smile, and pretended to study the headshot of Charles Nelson Reilly above the bar. I opted to look down at the cocktail napkins. They had random trivia questions, with the answers written upside down underneath the question.

"Hey Ellie, what's the capital of Mozambique?"


"What?! How did you know that?"

"I'm brilliant. You should know that by now."

"I do know that, but Mozambique?! I mean, it's not as though it were asking the capital of the US, or even Canada! That's ... that's amazing! I barely knew Mozambique was a country in Africa..."

"I have the same cocktail napkin, my love."

"Oh. Cheater."

"Whatever." The corners of her mouth twisted upward into a wry smile.

We weren't quite half way done with our beer, but I could tell Ellie was exhausted, and quite frankly, so was I. I took one last, large drink of my beer, took a $20.00 out of my wallet, and placed it on the bar.

"Want change?" The bartender asked me.

"No. Happy Thanksgiving."

He grunted. "Thanks."

"Have a good night," we said, almost in unison. I pulled my coat on, and started wrapping my scarf, when the man in the corner booth shifted in his seat. I glanced at him from the corner of my eye. He looked like a cross between a misplaced lumber jack and an angry sailor. He was wearing a simple olive green beenie that folded over onto itself, obscuring his eyes. He looked liked he hadn't had a shave or a haircut in years, long scraggly curls hung around his ears. In the low light, it was impossible to get much other detail. I could, however, tell that he was looking at me, and only me, which made me nervous.

We started to walk for the door, passing as far away from the salty dog's table as was possible, without calling attention to our purposeful distance. We were about 5 feet from the door, when he spoke.

"Leaving so soon?"

"Yep. Have to get ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Have a good night."



"I said, 'Pity.' Here I've come all this way looking for you,  and you don't have the decency to sit down and chat."

"Excuse me? I don't think I know you. You must have me mistaken with someone else."

"Angela Derrick. Associate Professor of English Literature and Poetry at Wellesley College. Born in Portland, Oregon, Jefferson High School, class of 1992, president of the marching band, captain of the girls varsity basketball team, and editor of the Yearbook."

"Look, while I'm sure google is a fascinating way to spend your time, I have no idea who you are, and the fact that you know such private information about me is really unsettling. Please stop before I call the police."

I made for the door quickly, with Ellie right behind me. The man slid out from the booth, and took a few steps toward us.

"You really don't recognize me, do you, Angie."

"What the fuck, dude! No! You look like the love-child of Grizzly Adams and the Ancient Mariner. I've never met you before, and I don't want to meet you now. Get the fuck away from me."

Ellie stepped in between us, and took a step forward. "Back away. Now."

He took a step back, and raised both of his hands, as though Ellie were pointing a gun at him. "This must be Ellie."

This made Ellie angrier, and even more protective, she took a step toward him. She said calmly, but menacingly, "Go away."

I turned to leave one last time, pulling Ellie along with me. As I pushed open the door, he said, "Angie, it's me."

There was something about the way he said me, a morsel of past remembrance I couldn't quite place. I stopped. "Me, who?" I said, skeptically.

He took off his cap, and stepped closer. Ellie went to stop him, but I put my hand on her shoulder. "Hang on, El." He stepped into a pool of light, and looked right in my eyes. I knew those eyes. Or at least I used to...

"Babe, it's me."

I could tell that Ellie didn't like the way he called me babe, but I took a few steps closer, and looked at him as though I had X-Ray vision.

"David? Dave ... is that you?"

"In the flesh, babe."

The last thing I remember was falling sideways.

So it begins!

Hello friends.

I thought I'd create a separate blog for the Adventures of Gay Rage, especially because I feel weird writing instillations about my life and Gay Rage's life in the same spot. I also realize that some of you might not care about my life, and/or Angela's, so separation just seemed like a good idea.

Anyway, I'll write all of Angela's installations here.

That's really all I have to see about that.

Oh, and thank you for bearing with me through this process. I've never written anything like this before; I've never had this thorough of an idea before - which would not be possible without my Fall Festival compatriots. Yeah.

Rage on!
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