I finally meet the Thirties Girl and discover she’s the girl in my dreams. Now I really want to get to know her.
I’m lost in my thoughts and I can tell she notices by her wry smile.
“Are there any books I can read to prepare for the next class? —I work in a bookshop and I’m sure I can get them.”
I nod. “I should really fill you in on what you’ve missed—are you free for lunch?”
“I am,” she smiled. It was such a genuine smile my stomach did a flip.
“Just let me pack up my briefcase and we can walk to the cafeteria.”
She waited in the doorway while I hastily collected my notes and put them in my briefcase. Then, I joined her and we walked out into the midday sun.
I hadn’t noticed until we were outside, she was wearing a beige clutch coat with a matching calf-length dress. She looked as if she stepped off a movie shoot from the 1930’s.
“This weather is so balmy—it’s hard to believe it’s still winter,” she laughed.
“It is until tomorrow,” I corrected her. “Spring begins at 1:14 am.”
“You’re very knowledgeable,” she smirked. “Doesn’t that take some of the fun out of things?”
“Well, I won’t be staying up late tonight to mark the Vernal Equinox,” I added.
“I’m relieved. You need to be lost in dreams at that hour.”
She looked at me wistfully and my heart melted. I know it was foolish—but I felt somehow she knew and we shared a common bond.
“Do you ever have weird dreams?” she asked out of the blue.
Her brow wrinkled and she got very serious. “So do I—sometimes, I find it hard to sleep.”
“One writ with me in sour misfortune’s book,” I sighed.
“That’s Shakespeare, isn’t it?”
I nodded, “Romeo and Juliet.”
“I like that line,” she said, as if making a mental note of it.
We arrived outside The Wymilwood Café; a red brick building dominated by huge picture windows. There was the usual noon hour crowd but we managed a window seat and I ordered us the mushroom soup and ham and Swiss cheese sandwich.
She excused herself to use the washroom, and I sat in the wooden chair, staring out at the street, trying to remember the silky feel of her arms and the cool taste of her mouth.
Then, I caught myself—it wasn’t her I was remembering—not Marilyn—it was the girl in my dreams. But were they one and the same? I had no idea.
I was so lost in thought that when she returned and touched my shoulder, I gave a sudden start.
“I didn’t mean to surprise you,” she apologized.
I tried to make light of it. “I get wrapped up in my thoughts sometimes.”
“I can see that,” she said, seeming to look right into my soul. It was weird as if there were some intuitive connection between us.
I had to force myself to look away. I felt shaky as if I felt thunder inside me.
I’m not sure she didn’t notice. She made light conversation as she sipped her soup
“It must be nice working here and enjoying the beauty of these grounds and all the old buildings—they have so much character.”
I forgot how charming the buildings must seem to outsiders.
“Some of them do have a lot of character,” I told her, “I particularly like Hart House—the leaded glass windows and the libraries with fireplaces.”
“It sounds romantic,” she said dreamily.
I flashed back to my dream—she glittering in a silvery backless gown—it all seemed so real.
“Is something wrong?” she asked.
I looked at her dumbly.
“You haven’t touched your meal. Are you feeling unwell?”
“No—nothing like that. I just haven’t been sleeping well lately, and I suppose it’s catching up with me.”
She looked sympathetic. I thought she believed me. “The soup’s very good,” she smiled, “You should try it.”
I sipped a few spoonfuls and nibbled at the sandwich—the meal was excellent, but the butterflies in my stomach kept me from eating.
“Did Abe tell you anything about me?” she asked abruptly.
I could have lied—I wanted to lie—but couldn’t.
“He told me you wanted to audit the course—and he said you suffer from amnesia.”
She nodded and stared out the window. “But that’s not quite the whole truth.”
I looked at her quizzically. “It’s not?”
She shook her head. “No, it’s a Reader’s Digest version.”
Again, I looked at her quizzically.
“Do you want to tell me the complete version?”
She stared until I felt uncomfortable. Again, I felt she was reading my thoughts.
“I think I can trust you, but I can’t tell you right now.”
She laughed, “because you have to get back to work and my story would take too long to tell—and besides, you still haven’t filled me in on what I missed.”
I colored slightly—she obviously saw through my subterfuge—my excuse for asking her to lunch.
I reached down and clicked open my briefcase, rooted around and found what I was looking for and handed it to her.
“What’s this?” she asked, taking the stapled pages.
“It’s the course notes—all the handouts, and the reading list.”
She weighed it in her hand and looked mischievously at me. “You could have handed me this back at the lecture hall.”
“Ah yes, but then I wouldn’t have had a reason to ask you to lunch,” I smiled.
“You do that well, you know, ” she smirked.
“Oh, the charming, little boy lost act—you almost had me fooled.”
The color began rising up my neck. “Look, I’m not a player—I just found you interesting and wanted to get to know you.”
“Really?” she said softly.
“But you already know me.”
My jaw dropped. It felt like my breathing stopped.
© 2017 – 2018, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.