1 Two babies are born on the same day in the same hospital, and for the first few hours of their lives, they belong to the same fraternity, recuperating side-by-side from their sudden existence. They are interchangeable brothers or sisters; their lives can be swapped as easy as switching nametags. These babies are very special to their parents, but really, either one will do. If you believe in million-to-one odds, then you believe one of these babies will grow to be a household name.
Which one would that be? Would it be the baby that was planned for, or the baby that was not planned? One couple leaves nothing to chance, and the other couple thinks inconceivable means to fuck without consequence. One couple obsesses over their child and infuses their child with confidence in his or her special status in the world.
The other couple sometimes leaves directions on how to cook dinner, and sends regrets they are not there to share it. Tell me right now: which baby will grow to be a hero and which will be a basket case?
If I were a gambling man, and let's face it - million-to-one odds is quite a gamble I would put my money on the microwave chef; he's had less practice conforming. Nobody told him he's special. He doesn't have to live in that box; he's free to explore a little more.
It is often astonishing just how wrong we are sometimes. We often confuse what we know is true, and what we believe is true, and then cling to our beliefs regardless. Our stubbornness kicks our own ass at times. The pampered child and the latchkey kid: one has a lot of room to surprise on the upside, and one has a lot of room to surprise on the downside. Expectations can be a real bitch; it's why Heisman Trophy winners shouldn't play in the NFL.
We never set a goal to be surprisingly good. We expect to be good. Yet, some of the most loved heroes, in some of our favorite stories surprised on the upside. Some of the best heroes are accidental. They overcame - or they pulled through - or they rose up. Heroes don't meet expectations. Most of us perform sufficiently, or meet expectations. If we don't, then we lower them until they are met. We slowly become mundane. We stop exploring, and firm up our boundaries, and we become comfortable with our limits.
After a while, we don't want to stand out, or go against norms, or take risks. Conform; comfort; comfortable. Don't run with scissors; don't bite off more than you can chew. If you love your dog, you feed him only the best dog food, and never table scraps. Only someone who doesn't care about their dog would feed it steak and potatoes. 9 out of 10 pet food companies agree on that. A good story is so rare that many of us know the same good stories.
We might think rarity is manifest, but maybe if more people allowed themselves to wander past their boundaries, then there might be more good stories. Then again, depending on the boundaries that are crossed, the story might not even be acceptable to tell, no matter how good it is. This is one of those stories. It's a story of powerful good that you might be conditioned to hate. It weaves a beautiful tapestry from the mundane, but you can only see it if you are willing to stow your biases and open your mind.
It is a story of how two unlikely strangers saved each other from themselves and from circumstance. It's a very simple story about how much more there is than meets the eye. It might be a story about you. _______________________________________________________________________ 2 The first person we are going to meet is a 30-year-old rotten prick named Frank Bishop.
He's not rotten in the evil sense; his rottenness comes from his mouth when it speaks the words his wormy brain conjures. An event is about to happen in his life that is so boringly mundane that it should automatically be labeled as unimportant. Yet, the ripple this event starts will soon grow to a wave. We are going to hop on this wave and ride along with Frank as it gathers strength and begins to curl over his head.
You may not like Frank at first, but you will have every reason to hope he hangs ten, and rides this wave to glory. If he chickens out, he may as well stay under.
We smile in anticipation as we catch sight of Frank leaving his house to go to work. He is uncharacteristically early this morning. It was only 7:26am, and this marks a departure from his rigid routine. The earliest he usually leaves the house is 7:28am, and he has been known to leave as late as 7:31am.
He's clearly outside his narrow range, and that's not like Frank. As assholes go, he is a very consistent and precise one. He's been early before, but on those occasions, he will wait in the house for the proper time to leave. Anyone who has been in jail is familiar with this behavior.
Wake for breakfast. Die until lunch. Die until dinner. Walk in circles after dinner. Die all night. It is incredibly odd that he is running early on this day. You have to wonder if there is something to ESP. If the event he is about to experience was going to be a plane crash, it makes you wonder if he would have been late. He is impeccably dressed as usual, and as usual, he is carrying his briefcase.
If we could look inside the case, we would see it still contained the orientation material his company gave him on the first day of his job some six years ago. Even though he has not opened the case during those six years, his steel-trap memory could spin those locks open in an instant. Frank is always in control, and people who have everything under control do not forget how to unlock their briefcase.
He is not naturally super-human; he has made sacrifices to maintain perfect command of his environment. By far, the most effective sacrifice has been to keep his world as small as possible. By keeping his world tiny, he can maintain perfect order and predictability. He will not disturb his world himself. That can only come from the outside.
To prevent that, Frank's world bristles with offensive weapons that he hurls when someone strays too close. For defense, Frank has built a psychic wall in his mind. This wall still bears the scars of epic battles from his past. The wall was built to keep doubt out, and belief in. It's so much easier being right than wrong, and as long as belief did not encounter doubt, then right he was.
When Frank landed his current job, some people might claim he hit the lottery, but he would dispute this. In his world, his own skill fueled his success, and it had nothing to do with luck. It proved that he knew what he was doing, and was in control of things. When he started with the company, they pointed him to an office and told him to get to work. The office came equipped with a desk, a chair, and a phone, and he was to sell shit to anyone he could hook on the other end of the phone.
When Frank opened the desk, he found that it contained a Rolodex. He took it out, and gave it a home on top of his desk. The only problem with the Rolodex was that all the cards had writing on them. He came close to throwing out the cards and requesting new ones, but being so new on the job, he didn't want to appear needy. The numbers on these old cards looked suspiciously like telephone numbers, and by God, he had an index finger that was perfect for dialing a phone.
Maybe he'll just dial a few numbers and see what the cat coughs up. If you were handed a Rolodex full of phone numbers, and nearly every called you made turned into a sale, wouldn't you be curious about the person who created such a high quality set of contacts? That Rolodex was good for nearly $300,000 in commissions that first year. It has gone up since then. Frank is a relatively wealthy man, and he doesn't even have to be nice on the phone; just be willing to lie.
Did the company even know about the Rolodex full of contacts? Who would leave that behind? Did the person die, or did the person maybe develop a life? Frank never gave it a thought, because there was no other person. There was only himself. Luck is for lucky people, success is for hard working people.
Frank appeared successful, not lucky. Appearance is what filled Frank's oversized garage with expensive shit that he never uses. Appearance is what attached an oversized house to his oversized garage too. The motivation for the possessions is comical.
He failed to see the trap he set for himself concerning his possessions: they were purchased to impress, but by owning all these things, he didn't like the idea of people using him for his toys. It was the same with women: he knew that with his money, he could have his choice of women, but he certainly didn't want a woman who was after his money.
The logic may seem absurd to us, but Frank has his own logical calculus, and he claims it is correct. His latest toy is actually a trophy, but not the kind you put on a shelf. This trophy sits in his driveway - it is a beautiful driveway trophy.
It had a keel, and a starboard, a port, and an aft… or something like that. This sailboat is currently obscuring his black Porsche 911 from view as he walks along the path leading to the driveway. He has his keychain and fob in hand, ready to push the button that disarms the car alarm.
He always pushes the button exactly when he clears the boat and turns toward the car. Frank is nothing, if not (predictable) efficient. Turning past the boat, Frank pushed the button at the same time he glanced at the car. The girl was still in mid-air. The very first time he sees this girl, she is floating in the air. He's not positive, but he's almost positive that the sound of the alarm scared the shit out of a girl who was leaning on his car.
Nobody leans on Frank's car in the morning - certainly not someone he can yell at, at least. She was asking for a dose of asshole, and here he comes. If Frank didn't have neighbors, he would be yelling from where he stood, but appearances must be maintained, and it wouldn't do to raise his voice. Frank kept his cool until he stood at the front of the car. Opposite him, standing at the rear of the car, is character #2 in our story.
Her name is Eva, and she is 15 years old. Eva is as nice as people let her be, and we'll leave it at that for now. Someone like Frank should not fuck with a teenage girl. They have more weapons than the Air Force, and many natural defenses. A verbal attack on a teenage girl is completely unpredictable, and you certainly can't physically touch them. You might be able to throw stuff at them, but it really isn't worth the risk.
Ignoring them is not a good idea either. Your best bet with a teenage girl is to acknowledge them in a neutral, non-threatening way. Look in their general direction, but do not stare.
If you are a father to a teenage girl, then you are in constant danger of many bad things. Frank thinks he is equipped to deal with the girl, but Frank is a fucking idiot. Eva might be pretty, but she is wearing a baseball cap pulled low, and her eyes are downcast in mild guilt. She is of slender build, and stands at 5' 5" vs. Frank's 5' 9" height.
His best bet at this point would be to box her, but she has long, slender arms, and may have the reach. He would have to move inside, but then watch those sharp elbows of hers. Frank is not violent, and that is unfortunate for him since he intends to confront her. He puts on a ridiculous pained expression as if she set his puppy on fire.
He makes a show of walking from the front of the car over to the side to examine all the damage where her skinny ass leaned on the car.
He bends down and brushes his fingers over a spot that has a little less dust than the rest of the car. It's a fake gesture, because there are no scratches. It's the gesture of an asshole. He looked back at Eva, and asked, "Is there a reason you are scratching my car?" It wasn't even good sarcasm. Everything about it was lame, just like him. Without missing a beat, she answered, "Yeah; it was the first thing on my To-Do list for today: Scratch-Fancy-Car." He stepped toward the driver's door and then said, "And I hope the second item on your list is to Get Lost." Her shoulders sunk down and her eyes looked away, and she said, "Actually, that was number one on the list.
I was just trying to figure out how to get out of this friggin' maze. Don't you have any straight streets around here?" "You leave the same way you came in." She frowned at him, and said, "No you don't." Ouch! Mr. I-am-always-right should just shut his mouth, but now he is getting snappy.
"You look familiar…there has been a lot of theft around here (liar). What are you doing here?" "What am I doing here? I'm just waiting for you to leave." You asked for that, Frank. You insinuated she was a thief. You stuck your fingers in her face, and now you should check your hand.
This was not one of his usual targets of abuse, and he should realize the difference. His usual target was anybody he met outside of work. Since he has no friends or social life, this limited him to people he did commerce with. This lent him the natural advantage of being the customer the always-right customer. This girl was under no obligation to take his abuse, but he had to show who was lord, and who was serf at the end of his driveway.
Go ahead, Frank; so far, she has easily swatted away your sarcasm and insults. Try something else. You need to learn never to fuck with a teenage girl. You have no clue how pathetically outgunned you are here. She hasn't shown you any of the heavy stuff yet. My advice is to go back into the house and hope she moves on. It may be too late anyway. You need to get out of communication range - now!
Frank screwed on a look of contempt, and opened his car door. As he was getting in, he said, "You should move when you see my reverse lights go on." Eva selected a weapon, took aim, and fired. "A gentleman would offer help to a lady who is lost." What are you going to do, Frank?
Are you going to back over her? _______________________________________________________________________ 3 Frank has let her in his car, and now he's well on his way to becoming a meat puppet. As he accelerates away from his house, an uncomfortable silence hangs in the air, and they both reached for the radio at the same time. They both laugh nervously and Frank turns the radio on very low. Eva distracts him while she changes the station. "Look at my sneaker.
It's coming apart at the front." She grabbed the front of her sneaker and peeled back the rubber bottom from the canvas top, and quacked like a duck when she did it. "I have to lift my leg high every time I step.
It's tiring, and I look like one of those retards… or… you know…, I'm not picking on retards." Frank rolled his eyes and said, "I get the picture. We wouldn't want to be mistaken for the less fortunate.
I'm sure that is not a problem for you." "Or you. This is a very fancy car. I've got my seatbelt on if you wanted to pop a wheelie. I've never been in a car like this until now." "This is a machine, not a car.
It doesn't pop wheelies. It was specifically designed not to pop wheelies. It keeps all four wheels on the ground when it goes fast. It's generally considered important." "Huh. What's the fastest you've had it going?" "I don't watch to speedometer when I am racing, so I can't tell you." (about 70) "Huh.
That makes sense." Eva found a song, and raised the volume. Frank lowered it to nearly zero, and asked, " "You haven't said where you want to be dropped off. Is just anywhere fine?" Eva raised the volume again so she could find another song. "I don't care. I need to get a donut or something. I feel like I'm going to puke…" He was getting ready to say something, but she said, "Don't worry. I'm not going to puke in your car.
It's just an expression. You know, like 'I'm dying to meet someone', or 'I'm dying to get a job'. You are not really dying…" "Oh, thank you for clarifying that for me," Frank said. "No prob. By the way; my name is Eva with an 'E'." "I'm aware how to spell Eva.
My name is Frank, similar to Franklin Square, where this road leads. I turn onto the freeway from there, but if there is somewhere close that you prefer to be dropped off at… without getting me lost, I can probably do that.
I wouldn't want you to get lost again and end back in Cherrywood." Eva let it go, and said, "Franklin Square is fine. I can catch a bus there…, hey, there is a McDonalds there; maybe we could get a muffin?" "Ah, thanks, but no thanks. I already ate a stick of butter from the garbage today." To Frank, that was a clever line, and this was a pleasant conversation for him. He was being funny! We have to allow for the possibility that Frank is not always a deliberate asshole, and that some of it is organic to his being.
It's tough to tell what he meant by the next thing he said. Pointing to a sign, he said, "Bus stop. There are bus stops all along this street." Was he hinting that she could get out here? Eva had fixated on a muffin. She was hungry, but all she had was a bit of change in her pocket, so she deflected his comment.
"Yeah, that's how I got to Cherrywood. Sometimes, if I'm awake early in the morning, I like to go somewhere new on the bus. You wouldn't believe how many people are up at five in the morning. People working…, doing things you never realized had to get done. My favorite time of the day is just before the sky starts getting light. I get off the bus, walk around, listen, and watch. Most houses are dark, but here and there, some are lit up, and when I walk by them, I might see an old person sitting alone at a table just staring at his hands.
I wonder if they lost their husband or wife, or if their children are nice to them. Sometimes I wish I could ring the bell, and ask what they are thinking about and sit and talk with them. I'm only… 15… but let me tell you, Frank, sometimes I feel the weight of the world too. You can learn a lot from old people; did you know that?" One reason Frank is an asshole is that he is not equipped to share personal feelings or express emotions.
It's not by choice… who would ever choose that? No, it's some sort of mental deficiency. It's an open manhole always right there in front of him, and dancing around it is usually ugly.
There was no grace in his response. "You may want that, but some people don't appreciate an intrusion, especially first thing in the morning." Eva shook her head, and said, "Well Frank; that's why I don't ring their bell.
I wouldn't have stopped in front of your house, but I had to get my bearings." "Well, we are dealing with that now. Isn't 15 an age when people go to school? Are you supposed to be in school? It's near 8:00." She glanced at him sideways, and said, "Duh, yeah. I have four more years to go, but I'll probably get out in three because my grades are tiptop. School is easy. I'm taking today off, so I have time if you wanted to stop at a different place than McDonalds." "Maybe some restaurant that is a little more upscale, Eva?
Let's see… how much can you afford to spend on breakfast this morning?" "Well, I wasn't saying we had to go to any place fancy…" "I see; fancy being… what?
How much can you afford?" Eva looked down at her lap, and said, "I think you know how much." "So what you really are saying is, why don't I have breakfast so I can buy you breakfast, is that it?
You can't just ask me; you feel you must trick me, is that it?" "I wasn't trying to trick you. Do you know what happens when I ask people for a favor? Then I owe them something, and that brings out the pervert in people." "I see. And do you run into a lot of perverts when you are casing neighborhoods?" Watch this… "You know what?
You can just let me out right here." She just threatened to kick her own ass, but Frank is still stupid, and he is going to show her. If she prefers blisters on her feet, then blisters she can have. He checked his rearview mirror and decelerated to the curb. He came to a complete stop, and she undid her seatbelt and slowly opened the door. Frank is not even watching for an attack. He thinks he won. She slowly twists around to get out and looks backward at Frank.
If he just avoided eye contact, he may have been unscathed, but he is mortal, and actually looking forward to this small victory. He was looking directly at her when, in a soft voice and sloe eyes, she said, "Thank you very much for taking me this far. That was very kind of you. I'm sorry about the breakfast thing. It's not your responsibility to feed me, and I normally wouldn't be so rude, but my stomach… You don't seem like a pervert.
I could have asked nice." Her aim was true, and poor Frank was hit right in the conscience. Jane's Defense Weekly has this to say about guilt delivered by a young girl: An extremely lethal weapon effective against nearly all men. It is particularly deadly against older men, brothers, and especially fathers. As mentioned earlier, Frank is not an evil asshole. He's really just a pathetic asshole, and his attempt to extricate himself from this was… pathetic.
"Look, the Square is just a few blocks up, and I honestly don't think those sneakers will make it that far. If you need a muffin, I'll buzz through the drive-thru. I was going to get a coffee anyway." Don't think for one second that Eva is a calculating, manipulating bitch, because she is not a bitch at all. It was an instinctive attack, requiring very little planning. She is genuinely thankful that he is doing exactly what she wanted. She closed the door and he pulled away from the curb.
Eva decided to reward Frank by sharing a little of herself. She means well, and doesn't realize that she is ready to torture Frank.
Eva is prone to bouts of enthusiasm, and maybe it was the prospect of eating, or feeling a little bad about having to jerk on his strings, but opening up is her way of showing trust and gratitude.
"Do you know what really stinks about being 15? I can't work anywhere, cuz' you know, I'm obviously a fucking retard who will only have accidents and kill people, so they can't be responsible." "Shit. I didn't mean to swear. Sorry. You must think I have something against retards. I don't. Swearing is something I've started to do this year a lot, but if you saw the shit I had to put up with… We learned proportions in school, and my swearing is in direct proportion to my aggravation and frustration.
I made a chart for math class…" "Don't you think they should have a measurement for frustration? Like missing the bus would be 1 frust, while asking your mother for a new pair of sneakers for four weeks straight would be like… 100 Goddamn frusts." "Sorry again. I'm going to stop apologizing for swearing, OK? I finally realized I needed a plan. Let me tell you; a girl has needs. I have needs but nobody takes them serious.
Everyone expects a girl my age to have parents… or a parent that takes care of my basic needs, but it fuck-all isn't always like that, is it?" Frank is having wholesale difficulties with what he is hearing.
In the world of the corporate whore, you don't just say what you think; you build a consensus, screen it for unacceptable language or concepts, and then package it up for presentation. His problems have been compounded by being in sales. His capacity for honesty has atrophied. Don't for one second think Frank is a liar, because he's not. A lie is deliberate and conscience subterfuge and that is not his style; embellishment and denial are more his style.
Denial is central to Frank's perception and cognition. He has a strong, healthy capacity for denial, and it has crowded out many things, such as empathy. C'mon, Frank. She asked a question. Give her a thoughtful answer, would you? "You have a filthy mouth. You should work on your language." "That's what I'm telling you. You don't swear, Frankie?" "My name isn't Frankie; it's Frank&hellip.
And I swear only if I have to." "So, when would that be?" "I don't know… maybe when I get injured; certainly not every other word." "When you get injured?
That doesn't make sense. There are more swear words than possible injuries. Did you ever think about how many different swear words there are? There are swears that I never say. I never say cunt; it's disgusting.
I never on purpose say cocksucker; that one just seems to escape if I am really pissed off at someone. The one I have to stop saying is my favorite: fuck-all. I use it for emphasis, and it's stupid. I'm not stupid. This is interesting: why don't you like Frankie? Frankie sounds so much cooler than Frank. I don't mean any offense by that… why does it bother you?" Frank is red in the face when he answers: "I don't know, because it does.
It's not my name. Criminals are named Frankie." He slowed down as they approached the square; McDonald's was on the right-hand side but the red light was backing up traffic and it would soon block the entrance. The car to his left had its right-turn blinker on. Frank gave a short blast of his horn to warn the car, and then accelerated past it and whipped sharply into the parking lot. Eva had not re-buckled her seatbelt after they stopped at the curb, and the sudden turn almost put her into Frank's lap.
She batted her eyes at him, and said, "Well hello, stranger. Jesus, Frankie; if you wanted me to sit in your lap, just try asking." It should be pointed out here that something important just happened that you may not be aware of. The angle of her head when she batted her eyes allowed Frank to see under the visor of her cap.
It vaguely dawned on him that Eva was a person talking to him, not a noisy problem that stuck to his shoe from the end of the driveway. Are her eyes different colors? Don't read anything into this other than the fact that it was a stray thought that popped into his head. Something made it over the wall in his head. Wondering about the color of her eyes implies curiosity, and he needed that like JFK needed a parade in Dallas.
Must deflect immediately. "How come you're not wearing your seatbelt? I can get a ticket for that!" "Oh, Christ, not a ticket!" she mocked. She seems to have shed some of her reserved nature. Frank turned the corner of the building and angled for the drive-thru lane, but when he saw the line of cars, he said, "Shit. This is going to take forever." Without missing a beat, Eva said, "OK. When you're injured, and when the drive-thru at McDonald's has a long wait.
That's when it's OK to swear. Does that about do it?" It was funny, so he smiled, but it was funny at his expense, and that was a good way to turn Frank into a prick. He threw his hands in the air and said, "I'm sorry; I don't have time for this…" "But, you said…" "I know what I said.
You're right, you're right. Here, let me give you a couple of dollars. I don't want to be snatching your food away." Eva had her head turned away when she said, "I just thought of another swear word I don't use very often motherfucker.
Let's just eat inside. It won't take long. We can sit and have a muffin and be out in 2 minutes. I'll have the privilege of sitting with you." Frank gave her a sharp look, but she smiled and said, "I'm teasing you." He peeled off a $5-dollar bill, and said, "Here. This will buy a couple of sandwiches…" "Do you want me to get you one? I'll run in…" He shook his head, and said, "Just take the money…" Eva sat there looking at him with an expression somewhere between anger and disgust.
He pumped his arm, signaling for her to take the money, but she wouldn't even look at it. "Keep your money, Frank. It was just a fucking sandwich. I didn't mean to throw you off your busy day. I can catch the bus right over there. Who knows? Maybe I'll see you around." Do I have to tell you what that was? This is why Frank avoided people. Until his conscience atrophied completely, he was vulnerable to it.
If he had a compelling reason, such as a meeting that he must attend, he might explain that he would love to have breakfast, but duty calls. Now this girl was walking away from his money simply because he would not eat with her. C'mon, Frank. Don't be an asshole. We want to cheer for you. Before she could open the door, he accelerated into a U-turn, and said, "Jesus Christ! Fine!" Oh, yes, his training was coming along quite well. I might be wrong, but I believe Eva is batting one thousand on getting what she wants.
We tend to project what we want to see, and it is tempting to think that Frank might have a good side to him, but I caution against that kind of thinking. It's inconclusive. It discounts Eva's persuasiveness.
Once again, she was half in his lap with the U-turn, and she looked at him and said, "Honest to God, Frankie, we have to stop meeting like this. What will people think?" Eva was secretly enjoying this. She had thought about asking him to hold her hand while they crossed the parking lot, but she knew when to back off. Frank was a head case, and she didn't know his limits. _______________________________________________________________________ 4 She was nearly finished with the first of her two muffin sandwiches, and he hadn't even taken a bite of his.
She had watched him grab the corners of the paper that was wrapping his sandwich, and gingerly peel it apart and unfold it flat, a disgusted look on his face the whole time. She wasn't being obvious in doing this, and she suspected he was trying to watch her too.
She took off her hat, patted her hair, and said, "I probably look like I just came from electroshock therapy." She slowly turned her head as if watching something pass by, and then turned it back fast to look at him. She busted him; he was looking at her, and she gave him a pleasant smile. Maybe I'm throwing him off his sandwich. Frank had been looking at Eva, but he wasn't checking her out. He was replaying their conversation in the car, trying to identify why he cringed at her conversation, but why he was also fascinated by it at the same time.
Besides the horrible profanity, Eva laced her conversation with candid admissions of doubt and small failings. He would never talk in such a candid way, but was it because he had no failings? There had to be some, but he couldn't think of any. "What are you frowning about?" she asked.
"Does your sandwich smell funny?" "Huh? Oh. I was thinking about work." She laughed a little, and said, "Just think what you can tell them! You can say you were late because you had picked up a good-looking chick, and you had promised her breakfast in the morning. You wouldn't even be lying." As she said that, he became aware how this would look if anyone from work came in to the restaurant and saw Eva and him together.
What will you say? Without thinking, he said to Eva in a low voice, "You shouldn't even kid around about that. I could get into serious trouble. Just the appearance of impropriety would be enough to put my job in jeopardy.
If anyone asks; you are my daughter from a previous marriage, OK?" Eva sunk down in her chair and began to toy with him a little. "I don't know, Frankie; you are starting to get me involved in some crazy shit now. How am I going to keep it all straight? Why did you and Mom break up again?
Was it because she found out about the apartment you rented for that bimbo secretary, or because the mail used to get delivered twice a day to our house?" She is very pretty. If Frank had to describe Eva to a coworker, he probably would not say that she was arrestingly beautiful, and that one of her eyes was a bright bluish green, and the other one a more solid blue.
He probably would not mention that her gaze matched her intelligence, or even that she was uncommonly intelligent. He might mention that her hair was black, but he wouldn't describe it as thick, jet-black hair that was wavy despite being severely pulled back into a ponytail.
He still hasn't noticed the fine spray of freckles across her high cheekbones, or that they contrasted with her flawless, light complexion. If you gave him a choice between describing her as having a big mouth, or a fine mouth, odds are that he would say a big mouth, and he would be wrong. He could not be faulted for not mentioning that she has a beautiful neck, because Frank was not specifically aware that a woman's neck could be a beautiful thing to look at. Frank might be an asshole, but he wasn't cruel.
For that reason, he would think it rude to mention Eva's one flaw - if you can really call it a flaw - for surely he has noticed the small chip on one of her otherwise beautiful teeth. Of course, that small chip looks like a jagged fang to Eva in her mind, and fixing it is high on her list of needs. When Frank wasn't lying to people on the phone, or kissing corporate ass, he was inside his wall, playing the starring roll in the latest piece of fiction now showing in his mind.
He had drifted into a fantasy where he was introducing his beautiful wife, and 2 ½ children at a corporate Christmas party. 'What handsome and polite children you have, Frank…' "Have I got food on my face?" He had been staring at her but not seeing her. Coming around, he said, "No." "Then what are you smiling about? Did you and mom get back together? Do I have to go to my friend's house for two hours now?
Are we a happy family again?" Oh, yeah; and she has a sense of humor. "I'm not smiling about anything." "I see. It must have been gas then." "Say, Frank, that sure is a nice place you have. Do you use your sailboat much?" "Why? Are you trying to invite yourself for a sail now?" The remark stung Eva, but she tried not to let it show.
"No. With my luck, a wind would come along and blow me away." "Well, I don't get out as often as I should (never, yet). If work could do without me for a week or so, I might sell the boat, and deliver it in person." Eva's eyes perked up.
"I could sell it for you!" "You? Please. What do you know about selling boats?" "Well, I know you want at least some amount of money for it. Anything over that would be a bonus. Let me write up an ad, and if you like it, I can find the best places to run it. We can take it a step at a time. How does that sound?" "Don't be ridiculous." Eva wanted to scream, but she held it.
She gave him a shy smile, and said, "I work very hard, and I'm smarter than the average bear. You have nothing to lose. If it sells, you can pay me minimum wage for my time." Frank snorted, and said, "I don't think so." (You fucking asshole, Frank) "See?
You laugh at the idea. That's what I'm talking about: nobody takes a girl my age seriously. I have needs, Frankie, and they ain't getting filled. I'm not asking anybody for handouts I want to work. Everywhere that I try to get work, people just laugh." "I wasn't laughing at you; I just… don't have any work for you.
What needs could you have besides new sneakers? You don't have bills; you don't have to pay taxes, or buy food…" "I don't have to buy food," Eva said in disgust, while rolling her eyes. "You don't think I miss meals? What are we doing here? I haven't eaten since yesterday, at school." "Frank, do you want to know why I ended up in your neighborhood?" "Probably not." "They say you learn something new every day, and last night I was thinking that I proved them wrong.
At 11:59pm, I was ready to give up, but then I realized that when you are drunk, the louder you talk, the slower you talk. Proportions again, Frank; at 11:59pm, I learned drunker, louder, slower." Frank looked at her suspiciously and said, "You were drunk at 11:59 last night? That could be part of the problem." "I wasn't drunk; the asshole in my living room snorting lines with my mother was.
He kept getting drunker, and louder, and talked slower and slower. That's why I couldn't get to sleep; that and my stomach rolling over from not having any food in the house. Do you know what it's like to listen to some drunk fuck slurring his words trying to talk your mother into having sex? I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate it… 1000 frusts.
is how much. When they went into my mom's bedroom, I got the hell out of Dodge. I didn't feel like listening to the shithead apologizing for 2 hours for not getting it up… so yeah, I took the bus down here, and ended up in your neck of the woods." Frank felt trapped. He could either say something that sounded like he cared, or not.
Either way, he loses. This is what he most feared, and why he never talked passionately, or personally. He simply was not equipped to deal emotionally with other people. Frank derived no pleasure from hurting Eva… not any more. "I don't think it's any of my business what goes on in your home." Eva glared at him and shook her head. "You know what? Fuck off! You don't have any problems, is that it? Are you Mr. Perfect, with only perfect parents, and a perfect wife, and perfect children?
Why are you looking around, Frank? Are you embarrassed? Are you worried about what these strangers might think of you? What are they thinking, Frankie? Are they thinking about what kind of asshole you are?" She leaned closer to him, and in a low voice, she hissed, "They would be fuck-all right!" She wiped her face with a napkin, and threw it down in disgust.
As she stood up, she said, "Sorry for burdening you." Ask she slipped past him, she leaned down and whispered into his ear, "You blew it, Frankie. You fucking blew it, and you don't even have a clue." And just like that, she was out the door and out of sight.
_______________________________________________________________________ 5 We can only be in one place at a time, and we decide to stick with Frank. He's trying on a face that he hopes will pass for composed. It doesn't; he looks like a smug, self-righteous asshole, except four shades redder. Right now, his day was sucking. She had attacked that wall in his head steady since he first saw her, and now he had a headache. He was also pissed off, and even though it didn't feel quite right, he blamed her.
He didn't want to think about it. What did she mean, 'I blew it?' I'm supposed to sit here and listen to her talk about her crack whore mother? Am I supposed to tell her that I had problems like hers too? Am I supposed to go out of my mind for her? Not even a thank-you for the food… That's what I get for being nice. The next time I see her… (Never) Suddenly he had to get out of there.
He wanted to just bolt, but was unable to with all the people who might see such a vulgar display. He left his table a mess and took casual, measured steps to the door, and then he was outside. He had a sick feeling in his gut (he blew it), and didn't know why.
He hated her for making him feel like this. He needed to catch up with her. He would tell her (I'm sorry) to stay the fuck away from him. He started trotting to his car… and then he started running, his shoes sounding like half of a horse running on the pavement. As he neared his car, he first dropped, and then kicked his keys past the front bumper. "Fuck!" he said to the Gods. He was still running full tilt when he put on the brakes and bent down to scoop up his keys in one fluid motion.
He stood up fast, spun around, and… She was sitting in the passenger seat of his car. She was looking away, and she had her hand over her mouth trying to hide the grin that she couldn't wipe off her face. He couldn't let her see him breathing hard. People in control of things don't breathe hard. He pretended to sigh a couple of times while he drew his breath, and then walked to the car door.
She managed to wipe the smile off her face while she leaned over to unlock his door. He watched her do this, and then opened the door and got in. She said, "I saw you looking down my shirt when I was leaning over. Maybe you are a pervert after all…" Frank had a huge problem. For the life of him, he could not remember what he was so angry about just a moment ago. I'm losing my mind.
You had better remember why you were mad, and remember fast. You can't remember later on and say that's right: now I remember why I am mad., it doesn't work that way. There is a time window, so you had better say something angry, and say it fast. Eva babbled on. "You're a lot like the one stalker I've had so far. He lived in the apartment below me.
I mean, how hard is it to stalk someone who lives one floor above you? I think he should have started from across town just to make it a little challenging.
I would think other stalkers would ridicule him and call him a pathetic loser. You make a lousy pervert, Frank. You need to work on creepy. Just looking down my shirt is nothing I can run to the guidance councilor with. He needs more than that. He wants to hear things that involve my ass too." You are running out of time. Hurry! He's too late, and that's too bad, because he had a bucketful of anger not more than 1 minute ago. It seems to have dissipated along with that lead weight in his stomach.
The running made it go away, thought the liar. Finally, he said the nicest thing he has ever said as an adult… "I'm sorry." It came out sincere. In fact, if the Romans had apologized for killing Jesus, they would have sounded something like Frank. Frank has some very legitimate reasons for not saying those words before today.
First, one of the benefits of always being right is never having to say you are sorry.
Second, Frank has so little interaction with others of his species that the opportunity just doesn't come up very often. He had plenty of chances to say 'I'm sorry' as a child. Frank was one year away from starting public school. His mother taught the 3rd grade there until she was involved with an unfortunate accident. Mrs. Bishop lost her temper for just one second. She had been teaching for close to ten years and in all that time never lost her temper.
If she had only screamed, or possibly let loose with a profanity, then the transgression might have been overlooked. In this case, losing her temper involved dislocating the shoulder of a young girl in her class when she picked her up violently by the arm.
The concussion the girl sustained was from Mrs. Bishop swinging the girl by her arm into the cinder block wall. She had gone away for a couple of months, but when she came back, she had all the time in the world to devote to her son.
Why, she could home school him. This idea seemed to cause a difference of opinion between herself and Frank's father a difference loud enough to send Frank to his room for cover. The argument stopped at the same time a dull wet thwack was heard.
This sound was before the back door opened up and his mother helped his father fall down the back steps and made a mess of his head. Accidents are terrible affairs, this one left his father without all his faculties, and that included speech. Speech is something a pastor needs, so he was retired by the church. Now mother could be the teacher and the preacher in their humble little home. Mother talked enough for the both of them anyway. His mother taught him the four R's: reading, riting, rithmatic, and religion.
She had a special Bible that had many special books not found in plain Bibles, and she taught Frank Jr. every sin there was, and the punishments that goes with them. Those first few years of home school were mostly lessons about minding mothers, hating liberals, and blaming niggers.
When he was about twelve, his mother told Frank about girls. She told him that his pecker could get gangrene from a girl.
She told him that if it did, he would have to go to the hospital to get it cut off, and they would laugh at him. It said right in the Bible that some girls could give him gangrene just by talking and looking at him. She told Frank that his pecker was a Satan detector, and if it ever got stiff, that meant Satan was sniffing around for a soul to steal. He stole souls by stabbing a person through the stomach with his pitchfork and then dunking them in a kettle of boiling water until their skin fell off.
To stop this from happening, if his pecker ever got stiff, he had to take a shower right away, and wash it very well. Mother knew everything, and sure enough, his pecker became stiff one day. He dutifully washed it, only to discover it might be too late.
Infection came out of the tip of his penis in big spurts that scared the shit out of him. The gangrene was trying to take hold. He didn't dare tell his mother because she would take him to the hospital, and they would laugh as they cut it off. He tried to get the infection out quite often, and he felt good every time he did. He was afraid it was making him sick in the head, because he sometimes though of girls when he did it.
He had to confess to his mother now, because surely Satan was sending these thoughts of girls, trying to kill him. He needed help.
She looked it up in her special Bible, and it said for her to cast out her husband from the bedroom, and to take Frank into her bed for one night. That night, she had just begun feeling for infection, when his father opened the door and spoke. He said, "No." His mother walked past his father and went to the kitchen. Frank heard a drawer open, and some things being shifted around, and then he heard the drawer slam shut. When she came back, she had her big rolling pin in her hand, and she beat his dad until he lay still on the floor.
She made Frank bring the truck around so she could put his dying father in the back. She then told Frank to drive his dad to the hospital, and tell them he got into a fight with a nigger. He asked if that was a lie, and she asked how it could be a lie if God told him to say it. He hadn't heard God say anything, but he didn't dare tell her that.
His dad spoke once again that night; he watched his dad being lifted out of the truck on a gurney, and when his dad made eye contact, he told Frank Jr., "Run." Frank knew he was right, but where was he going to go? He had no money, and he still had pecker problems.
Who was going to make his meals? Who was going to read to him? The Bible said he was still forbidden from reading any story his mother did not first read to make sure no liberal ideas were placed in the story by Satan.
It was a sure way to get boils on his tongue and eyes. She even read him a story from the bible about a boy his age who got boils on his tongue from sassing his mother. It sounded terrible. His father was gone for several weeks, and when he came back home, one side of his body drooped, and it wasn't from the weight of the casts. It wasn't until two years later that his dad spoke again. His mother was very ill. She had told Frank it was cancer, and that she was going to die.
She told him not to worry, because she would send him instructions from heaven. She would speak just as the Lord speaks to him, except maybe not quite so loud.
His dad had come into the room then and spoke to Frank. He said, "I'm taking her to the hospital. I want to see if they can make her suffer a little longer here on earth, before the devil claims this cunt for himself." Frank sat up all night letting every sound scare him half to death.
He was hungry, and the sky was just turning light when he heard a car. He peeked out a window, and saw it was a police car, and he ran to the hiding spot they always made him hide in when the police came. Two police officers walked right in, and called "Hallo".
He stayed quiet. He even stayed quiet when the two cops started talking about how gruesome the car wreck was that killed his parents. He heard them talking about a witness who said the truck appeared to go over the ravine on purpose, and never once hit the brakes. There were many things his parents never finished telling him before they left him alone. These things he had to learn from monsters. Frank was found wandering in town, half emaciated, and the state did what they could with him.
Frank had been abandoned by his parents, and the betrayal left him alone and naked to the world. It seemed much of the world just pointed and laughed during the two years he spent unlearning the twisted shit his mother fed him on. Frank's personality was forged in fear and confusion. Frank's discomfort talking with this girl is real. Eva is playing with fire, and she doesn't even know. Frank has already had a couple of sudden shifts where he wasn't sure if she was talking about her life, or his past.
Some of the shit is surfacing on its own. It's best not to think about that… Eva touched his hand, and he snapped back to reality, sitting inside his car next to her "You don't have to apologize, Frank.
I have to apologize to you. You bought me breakfast, and carted my ass around, and I made you late for work and told you tales from the ghetto. I'm dead on my feet, Frankie. I wasn't kidding about not sleeping last night. You didn't ask to listen to some babbling bitch that hasn't slept in two days." Eva opened the door and said, "I just wanted to thank you." She started to get out, and Frank said, "Wait…" "Yes?" "What did you mean, 'I blew it'?" She looked down, and said, "Nothing.
It was stupid." "What was stupid? Tell me." Eva thought for a moment, and said, "That I thought I could make you understand; that's what's stupid. You think sneakers are my biggest problem…" She was leaning down when she said this, and Frank couldn't see what she was doing. When she sat back up, she was holding her sneakers, and then she threw them out into the parking lot.
"Like I said, a girl has needs… this girl has needs. Look at my tooth, Frankie. How am I going to get my tooth fixed?" She folded her hands, and looked straight ahead before continuing. "I offered to help you sell your boat… zero risk to you… and you laughed at me. That was just one thing I offered to do. There are different kinds of things I can do…" She stopped, and a flood of color rushed to her cheeks. "You know, there are other things I could do for you.
I can earn what I need… I want to earn what I need. I am a teenage girl, and I can do special things for you, things you would love and things you need, but I could tell you would never let me do them. It's too bad too, because I would pay big dividends for you." Frank was red with embarrassment and anger. He took out his wallet, and with shaking hands, pulled out one, and then another $50 dollar bill and crumpled them into a ball.
"Here," he said as he threw the money past her and out her open door. "Go buy yourself some high heels. You can tell your next mark that someone who respected you for a little while bought them for you. You are a real disappointment, Eva. You had me going for a while. I actually felt bad for you." He had started the car and now gunned the engine, and she got out of the car.
She left the door open while she picked up the money. She put the money in her pocket, and stooped down to talk to Frank through the car door. She was slowly shaking her head and smiling sarcastically, when she said, "You're a dickhead. Do you think the only wonderful thing I can do for you is give you a blowjob or dance naked for you? Do you think I store all my worth in the box between my legs? You have needs, Frank. Your needs don't end with your dick… they don't even start with your dick.
You have more pressing needs than that. It's pretty fucking obvious. I could have taken care of your needs as easy as you can take care of mine. I'm glad you don't know what you are missing. I guess that is mercy at work." "I'm too tired to get pissed, Frank. I guess I don't even blame you for being so stupid. You have potential. I saw it in your eyes when you apologized to me.
You have beautiful eyes, Frank, but when I look at them, I'm not sure what is staring back at me." "I'm taking the bus home now. I am going to think about what to do with this money. I may just keep it… Have a good day." With that, she slammed the door, and padded off in her bare feet.
_______________________________________________________________________ 6 There was one thing that Frank knew with certainty as he backed up and headed out of the parking lot: no way was he going into work today. Hey, Frank. I heard you were told off by a pretty 15-year-old-girl with a high IQ, different color eyes, and a foul mouth. Way to go, buddy! He had to call in sick. I have never called in sick.
They are going to gossip. They are going to question my reliability, and they will distrust me… Who gives a fuck? I ask you, does this sound like the man we met at the beginning? Hey, Frank. We heard you laughed at a girl who offered you help. Way to go, buddy! Frank was used to confrontation; it was quite common, actually. There was a set protocol to this: initiate confrontation over something trivial, wait for submission, and then bestow pardon.
The deli, for example, was fertile grounds for this. Either something wasn't sliced thin enough, or it didn't weight precisely what he asked for. Once the error was corrected and an apology offered, forgiveness would be forthcoming with a generic excuse "I usually deal with the other guy, so I guess you didn't know how I liked it," That was how it always worked. His defenses had always been up to the task. He always could repel a person before there was any danger of intimate conversation.
Now he found out otherwise. He was going to have to strengthen his defenses. Bad shit happens when conversations turn intimate. Eva's problems dredged up memories of some of the same shit he went through, and that brought him dangerously close to telling her.
If he did that… she would want to listen… and hear more… when all he wanted to do was forget. As he was driving home, it was not lost on him that she not only broke through some of his defenses and read him like an open book, but she also got him to do everything she wanted. Why was he not enraged by that? He displayed zero control. She turned him into a meat puppet, and that made him feel… what?
Kinship? The familiar stench of Doubt was everywhere as it blasted holes into the wall defending his beliefs. Through these holes poured questions. You blew it… What did I blow? I am a teenage girl, and I can do special things for you… Whore. You have needs, Frank Whore. They don't start with your dick. You have more pressing needs than that… And what can you do for my needs?
Hold on to your hate, Frank. I feel like I am losing you, Stay with me; stay in control… Was that her little game? She would act like a friend? I'm your friend.
Listen to me. I'm a teenage girl, and you know what we are good for… _______________________________________________________________________ 7 It's Wednesday, 7:22am, and just for shits and giggles, we peek in on Frank to see if he's awake. When we look, he's not there! We look all around the house, even checking the bathrooms.
We hear a rattle, and look outside, and there is Frank pretending to be interested in a problem with his mailbox. It must be some wickedly complex problem, one requiring him to contemplate for some time while sitting in his car. It's 8:04am when he gets out of the car for the last time to check the mailbox… nope; no mail. Look all around because maybe (she) the mailman is coming.
; He gets back into the car and drives away. 10 to1 odds that he stops at McDonald's, goes inside, and serves up just a little aggravation to the cashier when he doesn't recognize anyone he knows inside.
We feel a little dirty doing this, but can't resist watching him come home in the early evening. He looks a little tense, but otherwise fine. It is only after not finding any notes, and after he is sequestered in the house that he takes on a more miserable appearance. It must be because he didn't make a dime in commissions today.
Or the next day, Thursday… Or the next day, Friday… Day Eva + 3. After taking a good look, we see Frank is not doing so well. His condition is more advanced than we suspected. He gave into doubt, and doubt has been ass-raping him for three days now.
Actually, it looks like it's a tag team with honesty too. It's ugly. It goes beyond Eva; she opened a door, and it looks like Frank walked through it. Right now, it sounds like he is talking to himself, but when we listen carefully, he's talking to someone he hasn't talked to in years. I met someone I couldn't make hate me. She's just a girl. I don't love her, and I don't lust after her. She wanted to help me, and I laughed at her.
She asked for my help and I ridiculed her. I hate… me. She was nice to me. She could hate the world. I hate the world. Why doesn't she? Her father is dead like you. Her mother may as well be. She sat before me, and I never saw her. I know her help now that it's too late.
Why didn't you tell me what a friend looks like? I was cruel to a girl the world is cruel to. Never have I done anything so terrible. I'm done hiding, and I'm done hating. I deserve to hurt forever. I just want to tell her it will be OK. I know you are alone. I know Mother burns in hell forever. I forgive you now. The sun is setting but it's darker than normal. Frank is oblivious to everything. When we look out of the picture window directly behind him, the sky is shaded deep blue at the top and gradually shifts to orange toward the horizon.
The clouds on the horizon are stratified, and the thickest band obscures the setting sun. Frank sees none of that. The rectangle of newly turned earth in the backyard is still visible in the fading light, and it is difficult to know what is in the middle of it. If we had to guess, we would guess it is a birdhouse on the end of a pole. It is difficult to say, since none of it was there yesterday, or any days before it. Frank's no help; he has his back to the window and doesn't see it.
Soon the darkness will hide it until tomorrow. The thick band of clouds does not quite meet the horizon, and a bright line silhouettes the bottom of the clouds. Frank stands up and does something very uncharacteristic. He walks to the liquor cabinet and pours himself a drink. The cabinet is well stocked from one of Frank's fantasies. He was going to host social parties where his fellow employees and even his bosses would come over to unwind after a successful week.
He is thankful now; there might yet be enough booze to drown. Frank is not a drinker, and doesn't even look at the labels on the bottles. He picks a bottle at random, and we note it is a quality single malt whiskey. That was a lucky grab; maybe he should start drinking. He places a tumbler on the counter, and tries to find the light switch inside the cabinet.
It is now too dark to see for pouring. He feels the switch and flicks it up, and realizes it's mounted sideways. Before he can flick it again, a flash of orange light makes him jump. He was confused, thinking the switch caused an electrical short that triggered the flash. The orange persists, and Frank looks out the window and sees a thin incandescent glow between the clouds and the distant horizon.
The sun was below the band of clouds, and it made for an unusual sky; just the band of light, but the rest of the sky was dark with clouds and with the night. He tried to reconcile the patch of turned earth and whatever was sticking out of the middle of it. It didn't belong there. It was his yard, and he knew it didn't belong there. Was it a trick of the light? It must be the work of vandals, who dug up his lawn. Frank must be livid, because he moved fast. He raced to the kitchen and grabbed a flashlight.
God help anyone still in his yard, because that smile on his face tells us he is out of his mind. "Fucking sliding glass door… open!" Frank yelled at the door and flicked the lock, and one of the two actions allowed to door to slide. Frank had found a new time to swear, and the absurdity of the thought made him laugh aloud.
What will the neighbors think? We race with him to the edge of the rectangle, and we see the fresh earth patch is about 15' x 10'. Sticks are evenly spaced along the edge of the patch. They are capped with empty seed packets. The earth is formed into slight rows, and with his flashlight, he can see prints made by human feet. They are most heavily concentrated by the pole in the middle of the patch, and Frank shines his light up the pole and onto a birdhouse.
Taped to the small house is a letter. It reads: Dear Frankie, I know it looks like dirt, but there is more here than meets the eye You have to trust me when I tell you it will pay dividends I toiled in the soil in my bare feet during the night I didn't want to get my new sneakers dirty It's a good thing you didn't buy me pants The moon shining off my bare ass would wake everyone up I thought about waking you anyway I wanted you to feel the cool earth with your toes It was indescribable, and I wanted to share it with you I hope to see you again someday Your friend, Eva P.S.
I planted some birdseed too When they sprout, they will have a home to live in We don't know how long Frank sat on the edge of that little garden and cried. It didn't seem appropriate to linger. It could have been a long time; he had a lot of catching up to do. _______________________________________________________________________ 8 It was a warm Saturday, and Frank had taken the blue tarp off his sailboat to polish all the brightwork.
The sailboat served as a reverse widow's walk, whose height commanded a better view of the road that might be used by pedestrian travelers. He really wasn't expecting Eva to show up, but he found himself scanning nonetheless.
He knocked off at about noon to fix some lunch, and his telephone rang. He normally screens incoming calls on the rare occasions he gets one. He had a hunch, and sure enough, it was Eva. She was calling collect from a payphone, and Frank wanted to say something to her, but he was having trouble expressing himself. He did something very smart: he said, "Eva? Will you stay on the phone long enough for me to figure out how to talk to you?" He cringed, knowing how stupid it sounded.
Eva said she wasn't sure if she could, because she had a date with a prince from Siam. It was a wonderful distraction, and Frank broke the sad news to her that Siam went out of business, but good God, there must be a hundred other princes waiting for her. It took him 43 minutes before he finally mentioned the garden.
His voice cracked, and he had no idea she cried just a little because of it. The call lasted just over two hours, and it was a struggle. In the end, Frank had thanked her for the things he should, and apologized for his terrible behavior. He told her he needed to find a doctor to hear some things that he couldn't get into with her.
She had asked if he wanted to meet for breakfast, and he said not yet. He thought practicing on the phone was something he would like to do first, and she didn't laugh. He told her seeing a doctor might bring up some bad stuff, and he wanted her to be able to hang up if he lapsed into old behavior.
She extracted one concession for the next call: she would call him if he could name one thing she could do for him other than sex, and it started today, on this first call.
It didn't take him even one second to say, "Be my friend." She called Sunday. This went on every single day for six weeks, with Frank finding something she could do for him to get his call the next day. In this way, they planned activities neither would have ever done alone. She could take him to a play in town; she could take him to a ball game; she could go to a movie he wanted to see, and she could force him to watch a movie she wanted to see.
She could dress him up for dating; she could help find him a date; she could approve of his date; she could help him find a new restaurant… Frank found out she was immensely useful, and in fact, he had no idea how he managed without her.
Mostly they just talked. Slowly the baggage came out, and she did indeed hang up on Frank on more than one occasion. Frank too learned that Eva had her moments, and she would get mad that he didn't hang up.
She would hang up on herself for him. Always she would call back, always they ended the day's conversation with Frank telling her something wonderful, and he sometimes indulged her with beautiful lies. Eva could be an odd bird at times. She had an eclectic sense of humor and an intellect that rejoiced in bending conventional logic. She never seemed to be sad, but she masked her insecurities with crankiness, and she would hang up for Frank, and call back in a better mood. Frank still had his limits, and one time he had hung up on her.
She had called and started talking dirty to him. He did not know how to handle that. Frank always asked if she needed anything, and she always replied that just knowing she is not on her own in the world was enough. Frank eventually got an address out of her, and sent her a FedEx with $200 in cash and a picture of the garden. The garden had become another phone ritual, with her worrying over various outlandish problems that Frank has probably allowed to happen. Frank always reassured her it was fine, and he watered and weeded it every day.
The practice was paying off. Frank was beginning to express himself, and that actually made his sessions with the shrink that much more effective. It was a dividend - no question about it.
Frank knew he would be seeing his shrink for a long time. So much, and yet so little has been addressed in the few weeks since he started his visits. Frank finally asked Eva is she might want to help him find a decent restaurant, and maybe do a little shopping after. "God, Frank. I thought you'd never ask." _______________________________________________________________________ 9 He had offered to fetch her, but she insisted on making her own way to his house. He knew not to push, and it was agreed she would come by before dinnertime on Saturday dinnertime being whenever she wanted to eat.
Frank felt foolish for being nervous. He was looking forward to seeing her, but apprehensive at the same time. Their conversations became a very important part of the day for each of them, and the phone provided a social buffer, as well as a circuit breaker. He knew he had little to fear - the old Frank was turning into a memory.
Frank had nearly fallen asleep on the couch, when outside, he heard… "I'm dying…" Did he imagine the words? He stood up so fast he nearly blacked out. He heard the sound of tired footsteps slapping with an exaggerated stride. Then he heard panting like a dog, a couple more slapped steps, and then… "I'm dying and nobody cares…" Last, he heard a loud thud on his door.
Walking to the door, he rehearsed his greeting. He had a whole list of compliments that he wanted to make sure he remembered tonight. His heart was pounding as he grabbed the doorknob and he prepared to tell her she looked lovely.
He threw the door open, looked at Eva, and said… "You got breasts?" "I smell like a goat." "I never noticed your neck, Eva." "Don't take me dancing, Frankie. I'm too tired." "Why was I nervous?" "I'm trying to quit swearing." "You have great taste in sneakers." "I hope you like goats, Frank, because I'm going to hug you right now." Eva was holding on tight with her eyes closed, and said, "I had tits when you met me, but I had them strapped down.
I bought a real bra and some second-hand clothes, and a birdhouse, and seeds, and… sneakers." She squeezed even tighter, and said, "I wanted to give you a hug, but I need one too, so don't pull…" Something terrible happened to Frank, and Eva started laughing. Frank tried to push away, but Eva held on tighter and laughed louder.
She looked up at him and said, "You have a boner! Frankie! Honest to God, what are the neighbors going to think?" She wouldn't let go, and Frank dragged her around backwards as he tried to get away. She said, "I'm only 15 years old, and you want to put your thing in me. That's disgusting! You are such a pervert! I can't wait to tell my guidance councilor at school." "Eva, stop!" "Was it because I said 'bra'?
'Birdhouse'? Was it 'birdhouse'?" She let go of him and, feigning shock, drew in a deep breath, and said, "You like the smell of goats! Oh my God! And I'm just a…kid!" She started bleating and backed him into a corner.
She leaned up, and gave him a quick kiss on the corner of his mouth and stopped torturing him. "Frank, you look like you want to die. Did I embarrass you?" "I'm sorry. I wasn't even thinking about… anything… bad." "Bad?
What do you mean, 'bad'?" "You know." "No. You mean when the girl bends over and the boy spits on her back?" Frank almost wet himself laughing, and that surprised the both of them. Once he had air in his lungs, he said, "I don't know if trading in a dirty mouth for a filthy mind is much of an improvement." "Hey, Frank?" "Yes?" "You look good. I mean you look like you've been through the ringer… it looks like you lost a couple of pounds, but you don't look so bound up." He handed her a glass of ice tea, and watched her drink half of it down without coming up for air.
He refilled her glass, and then asked, "Eva, I never had the courage to ask you on the phone, but why didn't you just walk away that day we met?" She hung her head, and thought for a moment before answering.
"I think everybody spends a lot of time pretending to be someone they are not. Do you promise you won't get mad?" "I promise." "OK. You were an asshole to people for some reason. People like to judge, and then stick a label on others. They never ask why someone is the way they are.
I stuck the same label on you as everyone else… 'asshole', but I knew there was a reason for it. I shared my personal thoughts with you, and you did the rest. One part of you kept trying to shut down what the other part of you was willing to do. I knew you were being stubborn about eating breakfast. I could see the fear. Why would someone fear that?" "Then… I watched you grill the cashier when you ordered your food. The kid did nothing to you, and I realized that was the problem.
If he had been an asshole, you would have just ordered your food. Because he was nice to you, you had to act like an asshole to him, and I knew why: you had to make sure there was no chance of a friendly relationship.
It was crystal-clear to me. You couldn't see it, but I did. I had no idea why you did it, but I knew I was looking at someone who wasn't an evil asshole, but someone who needed to keep people away.
I couldn't think of a more lonely existence." "Then it hit me: I knew what kind of work I could do for you. I just didn't know how to tell you yet." "I tried telling you, but all you saw was a young girl.
What does the world think of a young girl? Cute, but mostly useless is what it thinks. I'm being honest here, so don't get mad, OK?" "I said I wouldn't." "My needs not getting filled, missing meals, missing sleep, they are all small potatoes compared to my mother getting arrested or worse; I go into a Foster home if that happens.
I've seen kids who ended up with the state, Frankie, and they are not the same after a while. Life kicks the shit out of them, and they stop hoping after awhile. I need options. I need some independence, and that means I need work. I can't get work. The law doesn't allow it. I already tried knocking on doors to get yard work, and cleaning work, and all people see when they open the door, is some useless kid." "I needed an interview.
I had to show someone that I was smart and mature. I was in this neighborhood for a reason. Will a rich person give me work, or a poor person? Is a single person going to give me work, or someone with a wife? I picked your driveway because I didn't see any kid's toys in your yard, or a car that a woman would drive. You were first on my list because you were the first house that looked right. I had nine on my list. Frank asked, "How did you know when to catch me?
How long did you wait?" "I did my homework. Remember when you said I looked familiar?" Frank nodded.
"You saw me a few days before. I walked down the street a couple of times writing down what car was in what driveway at what time. If a car was gone on the next circle around, I had a time range." "What a clever girl. So you tricked me… I guess we should be thankful you are not a burglar.
I'd like to know then, and be honest… were the sneakers a prop?" "No. Being lost was my only stunt. I was ready to chalk the whole idea up to failure when you were such a prick.
I forgot all about being on my best behavior and talking about how little time a busy man has, and all the things that need to be done. I just started bitching about my problems, and it wasn't until I saw just how alone you were, that I realized how much more valuable I can actually be to somebody who needed the right kind of help." They both fell silent for a moment, and then Frank said, "Incredible. Do you ever wonder what else you might accomplish? I am looking at you and thinking you might be destined for great things.
Besides having different colored eyes, you are unusual. You are… special." Eva blushed, and rolled her eyes, and her age peeked through when she made some silly noises in her embarrassment. "Are you hungry Eva?" "I am fuck-all… I am famished, Frank. Did you figure out a place to eat at?" "I just have to confirm…" Frank called a number and spoke for a moment, and Eva heard him mention 11:00PM, and gave him a quizzical look. He hung up, and said, "There is a place on the coast that I thought we could try…" "The coast?
That will take two hours to get there." "No. I just spoke to the pilot. We will have some time to do some shopping too, but he wants to head back at 11:00, so I think we will only shop for you tonight. I can go another week in my un-cool clothes." Eva screeched and jumped in the air while clapping her hands.
"Frankie! You are the balls! You are starting to scare me." "Frank?" "Yes?" "Do they have air fresheners in planes? I still smell like a… I'm not going to say it; I don't want you walking around with a boner." "Shut up, Eva. We can just open a window." _______________________________________________________________________ 10 It doesn't seem right to follow their evening.
In fact, I think we have seen all we need. We have seen what a not-so-chance encounter with an unlikely stranger has done to our favorite basket case. Something inside Frank needed to get out, and Eva helped set it free.
Frank did indeed hang ten, but it sounds like he will be purging demons for quite some time. We really should sign off, but it is tempting to make sure Frank returns in a good spirits. There is still a lot of volatility in both of them, and anything could happen. It is midnight when we hear the rumble of the car coming up the street.
It pulls into the driveway, and we are a bit surprised to see Eva get out of the car too. Maybe she has stubbornly insisted on making her own way home again. They are laughing, and that is a great sound. Eva starts pulling bags out of the car and handing them to Frank. The scene evokes images of a clown car.
"Tell me that's the last bag, Eva. This car doesn't hold that much stuff." "Almost, Frankie; I've got the last two here. I'll carry these, and you carry the other eight, OK?" she said with an evil laugh. She gave another evil laugh and said, "I thought you were going to die when I was eating my ice cream tonight." "Eva.
Everyone in the place is probably taking a cold shower right now. I don't know why you pull that shit with me sometimes. I could have died." "That's why I did it, dipshit.
Hey Frank, with these new clothes, you are going to be beating the women off… or I should say, women will be beating you off. Hehe. Get it, Frank? They will be beating you off?" "Yes. Please hurry. These are getting heavy. This was supposed to be your night. I don't know what your obsession is with finding me a girlfriend. There is a pace to things, and I got the feeling tonight you want to marry me off right away. Honestly, am I that much of a burden?" Eva giggled, and said, "Nooo.
I don't know; I just think you are too nice to waste on me." "I'm not wasting myself on you. There is no you in that way. There is only you, my friend." "Oh yeah? Then why the…" "Quit with the boner, would you? Christ, you've been weird tonight! Fun, but weird.
Hurry up and do what you have to do so I can get you home. I'm exhausted." Frank unlocked the door, and just about threw the bags into the house. He grabbed the two bags Eva was carrying, and closed the door behind her. She was wired, and said, "I can't believe the luck we had with you tonight. You are going to look like a new man." "Eva, people are going to fall over laughing when they see me." "Admit it, Frank: you love the clothes.
I want you to try something on when I take my shower. I want to see them together." "No. I've done all the trying on I am going to do tonight." "Frank, I'm asking you nice: please try them on." "That's not asking me nice; that's telling me in the disguise of asking nice. That's what you do, and it's what I seem powerless to do anything about." "God, Frank; you really are a terrific learner. I just love ya. You have to put on the belt and shoes too.
Don't put on the cologne; I can't be held responsible if you do." "Au de goat?" "Shut up; it smells great. Speaking of smelling great, I can't wait to get into some of my new clothes. Thank you very much, Frank." "See how that worked out so well for both of us?
I got some desperately needed clothes, and all I had to do was turn you into an irresistible stud-muffin In exchange. We sure had fun tonight. Those lights coming back…, I was dizzy…it seemed like a dream." "Eva, I'm pretty sure I would have had fun breaking rocks tonight." "Frank?" "Eva?" "Thanks for everything." Frank walked up to Eva and gave her a hug. He released her, and said, "I'm happy you had a good time.
You are welcome. Oh, look Eva; no boner." "Well, maybe it's safe to ask you then; can I crash on a couch? It's Saturday, and I'm sure there are people over. I feel like they would be able to tell I rode in an airplane tonight.
I don't want them seeing I got new clothes. I don't want them to bring me down. I want to replay everything tonight, and I want to go to sleep with a smile." Frank said, "I don't care; as long as you are not going to get in trouble.
You're mother is going to think I am a pervert." "My mother told me to seduce you. She's not a very complex person. I could win the Nobel Prize and she would say, that's nice, Eva. When are you going to find a man to take care of you?" "You told her I was thirty?" "I told her, but I'm not sure numbers mean much to my mother anymore. I don't want you to meet her. I love her, and I would hate for you to think bad of her… which you couldn't help.
Anyway…I will cook breakfast in the morning for rent." Frank chuckled. "You don't have to sleep on a couch. I have a couple of guest bedrooms. One of them is perfect for you. You can sleep with stuffed animals and frilly pillows." "Frank; did I tell you how awesome you are?" "I'll show you were it is.
There is a shower right next to it." Eva followed him up the stairs and then down a long hallway. He showed her the various rooms off the hall. His room was huge, and it had its own bathroom. The hall ended at a door, which led out to a balcony.
Before the balcony door, on the left, was a bedroom and on the right was a bathroom. Frank opened the door on the left, and showed Eva the bedroom she could use. Eva looked at the bed, and collapsed onto it. It wasn't an especially beautiful bed just a tasteful four-poster, but the mattress was of superior quality.
Eva stretched out among the stuffed animals, and marveled at the comfort of the mattress. She told Frank she had never felt anything so nice. She held out her hand so he could lift her back up onto her feet. Frank showed her the bathroom across the hall. He showed her were the towels were, how to adjust the water temperature, and he made sure there was soap and shampoo.
On the way out, Eva told him which shirt and slacks to try on, and not to forget the shoes, or the belt. He just rolled his eyes and nodded. . Frank had to smile when he heard the door down the hall finally open. Her shower had lasted 45 minutes, and he though she might have fallen asleep in there.
When she came out, she was wearing a light top, and a pair of baby blue skin-tight shorts that she had bought with Frank's help tonight. Her hair was still slightly damp, and her skin was rosy from the hot water.
She knocked lightly on Frank's bedroom door, and he opened it right away. He started blushing, and Eva couldn't tell if it was because of her, or because he felt self-conscience in his new duds. It's impossible not to admire Eva's vibrant beauty and soft curves. Her multicolored eyes twinkled with delight at seeing Frank. She made a joke of chasing him around the room, and he pretended to hate his new clothes.
Eva gives him a hug, and we can tell he is distinctly uncomfortable by the way he is leaning into her hug. She holds on for a moment extra, and says, "Frank. Thank you for everything. Tonight was like a fairytale. Right now, I feel… safe.
I feel like the world stopped chasing me for a while, and I forgot what that felt like." She let out a loud sob, and this caught Frank off guard.
She buried her face in his shirt, and held on tight. Her crying was silent, but she was shaking hard, and Frank's heart broke. He had no idea why she was crying, but he put his other arm around her and hugged her tight.
He stroked her hair, and told her everything was going to be OK. She had her face buried in his shirt for a couple of minutes before she stopped crying. She lifted her head a little so she was looking over his shoulder. She wouldn't let go, and he could feel her eyelashes against his cheek when she blinked. She sucked in snot, and in a soft voice still wobbly with emotion, she said into his ear, "I just can't tell you how I feel.
I am overcome…" "It's called Joy, Eva. I've heard about it." With a grin on her face, she pulled back and looked at him through glassy eyes. She was about to say something, but then burst into tears again, and waved a hand in front of her face.
She backed out of the room, and with tears streaming down her face, she screwed on a smile, gave a little wave, and in a wobbly voice, said, "Goodnight, Frankie." _______________________________________________________________________ 11 The power of two is a miraculous thing.
A man exists in a shell that hides him from his own dysfunctional past. He has money, and the things it can buy, but he pushes the world away instead of grasping it in his hand. A young girl, wise beyond her years, is trapped in a world that seems intent on crushing her. One fears the past and the other fears the future. Together, they have made the present a wonderful place for each other. They are keenly aware of the limits society has placed on their friendship; they hide in the ambiguity of their relationship so as not to offend society.
As long as she is a daughter, or a niece, or maybe a friend of the family, then that is acceptable. Under no circumstances can they simply be two people who met and are now close friends. The telling of their story is not yet finished, but society demands that it must end here. To tell the rest of the story would be to speak of things forbidden. Eva and Frank did more than just survive together; they thrived together.
They filled in the missing parts of life for each other, and they never asked for approval to do so. They amplified the nice parts of life, and smoothed the unpleasant parts just a little. It didn't stop them from experiencing joy, or pain, or anything except possibly regret, and maybe that is what society is ultimately pissed off about. How many of us will end our days with some regret? What gives these two unfortunate people the right to be so fortunate?
I said at the beginning this was a story you are not supposed to like. If you choose to read the rest of their story and find you like it, then maybe society has been ripping you off all along. How regrettable that would be. _______________________________________________________________________ 12 That very night, after Eva tiptoed to her room, Frank got ready for bed but didn't crawl in right away.
He sat on the edge of his bed while a swirl of thoughts passed through his consciousness. It was an odd mix: he had a sense of contentment that came from an evening that went mostly as planned. He had succeeded in doing something nice for Eva; - she even called it a fairytale. It was funny how her enjoyment was the thing he desired. A selfless need, he thought ironically.
Mixed with that was a slight unease with Eva's emotional state. He rolled it around in his head, trying to identify what she was experiencing. She had been at times obnoxious during the evening, and he chalked that up to the novelty of being pampered in an extravagant way. Being flown on a private plane to dine and shop was probably heady stuff for a teenage girl, and not all people are comfortable with lavishness.
She had done a few things she knew would piss him off, or embarrass him, but he also knew she would have walked to the end of the earth for him tonight. Yes, he enjoyed spoiling her tonight. He owed her so much. He was puzzled by the crying. It was intense much more than tears of joy. He was at a loss, so he attributed it to the mysteries of women a thoroughly unknowable creature. The attention Eva had brought to his appearance made the possibility of him finding a date something real.
This made him a little nervous, and he would have to resist Eva if she started pushing him to meet someone. He will deal with that at his pace. It was nice to know he at least could dress the part when the time came. As the adrenaline faded, he started to yawn and knew he would drop like a rock.
He turned out the light, and 10 seconds later, was in a different world. A half hour after that, Eva couldn't take it any more. She got up, and stumbled down the hallway, feeling along the wall for a doorframe.
When she found it, she paused for a moment, and slowly put her hand out to the door. She hated to knock, but the door wasn't closed all the way, so she pushed it open and stepped into his room. His bed was framed by only the light of his alarm clock, and she walked up next to it. Why people whisper at times is a funny thing, but whisper she did loudly. "Frank!" Frank had just teleported to somewhere nice, and already he was being summoned back.
He was pissed about it, too. "I'm sleeping," he mumbled.
"Slide over…" "Huh? Go back to bed!" he said testily. "No. I want to sleep next to you. I'm…" "Goddamn it… No!" "Frank, I'll rip the fucking covers right off your bed. The sooner you slide over, the sooner you get back to sleep…" "More. Slide over a little more." Eva pulled back the cover just along the edge of the bed without uncovering Frank.
She crawled in, taking the spot he already warmed. She reached behind, and felt along his arm until she found his hand. She took hold of it, lifted it up, and scooted backwards until she fit her body against his. Then she pulled his arm around her.
Behind her, Frank asked, "Are you naked?" "Yes," Eva whispered. "Why are you naked?" he hissed angrily. It took Eva forever to answer him. He was wide-awake now, and he propped himself up on an elbow and leaned his head over Eva, waiting for her to answer. "Because I don't want to be alone…" "That doesn't explain why you are naked." She was still holding his arm around herself, and in place of an answer, she moved his hand to her breast and gripped his fingers tightly in hers.
She was shaking from nerves, and she was embarrassed by that.
Frank couldn't believe how soft and wonderful her small breast felt. He wanted to rip his hand away, but instead found himself rubbing and caressing her breast. She released her grip on his fingers, and he started gently playing with her nipple.
He felt it swell and harden in response to his touch. In his mind, Frank could see Eva's long neck, and he lowered his head down and began lightly kissing it. Eva rolled over to face him, and tried to hug him, but the spell broke, and Frank flinched away. "Eva! What are we doing? We can't do this! This is bad. It's against my belief." Eva clutched his hand in both hers, and said, "I felt your belief poking me.
This might be our only chance, Frank." "What do you mean, 'our only chance'? There is not supposed to be a chance…" "I have a secret to tell you… I have two secrets to tell you… I have three secrets to tell you, Frank." "What secrets?" "I need this chance…" "Eva, you don't know what you are saying…" "Frank, I'm in love with you." "Eva…" "Frank, please listen to me.
It's not a stupid girl crush. I know the difference. I didn't plan for this to happen. You thought I was teasing you that time you hung up on me. I was so horny for you that night… if you played along, I would have ran all the way here.
You didn't, and I put my feelings aside, and told myself that you could never love me. I called you back because it would be unfair to you if I didn't. I kept telling myself that our friendship is an arranged thing that we came to agree on.
Isn't that what we have?" "Exactly." "Yeah, exactly…, and you know what, Frankie?" "What?" "Bullshit! It just confirms what I thought: you don't know anything about relationships, and you know fuck-all about your own feelings." "Eva…" "Frank! If I were just your little pal, you would not have arranged for a perfect evening. You wouldn't have flown me to a candlelight dinner, and shopping, and… the kicker was the ice cream, Frank." "Eva, I'm sorry if you got the impression…" "No, Frank.
I'm sorry you didn't understand what you felt. I watched you tonight. Did you know that every time I smiled, you lit up? You wanted everything to be perfect for me tonight. I was all that was important in your world. I was your world… I could feel it radiating off you. I have never been honored as great as tonight. I'm not talking about the food, or any of that shit, I'm talking about what I felt from your heart.
Did you, or did you not love me tonight, Frankie? Be fucking honest!" Eva sobbed out the last words, but controlled herself right away. Frank could feel her staring at him, and he wanted to retreat for some reason.
What did he feel? He never thought about it. He tried a familiar lie. "Eva, I loved you maybe like a daughter." "I knew you were going to say that. I can't be upset because you don't know any better. You have to tell yourself that." Eva patted his chest a couple of times, and said, "Tonight…" "Tonight, when they brought out the appetizers, I was struck by… a vision.
It was like a fog lifted, or a veil I have been seeing the world through was lifted, and for the first time, I gazed at true beauty. Everything to me… seemed… so beautiful. The food, the tablecloth, the bubbles in our fake champagne…your eyes, in that light…, I melted into them, Frank. It struck me that I was looking at a man who didn't have a clue to what his beautiful heart was saying.
It made me sad because I was so attracted to you, but you would never allow yourself to see how I saw the world just then. You picked right up on something; you were ready to send the appetizers back because I must have looked sad for a billionth of a second. I wasn't sad for the appetizers, I was sad because I realized something I loved was out of reach." Eva started absentmindedly rubbing his chest as she talked.
She spoke slowly, weighing the right words. "I tried to shake my feelings all night. I didn't let you spend too much time on my clothes. I wanted to get you clothes so you could dress up for dates. I thought talking about a girlfriend for you would make my feelings for you go away.
I ended up hating the bitch." Eva smiled, but didn't get any sense that Frank was smiling. "To top it all off, I became very horny. That was twice in a couple of weeks, and both times intensely about you. I thought I was immune. Christ! I was like a cat rubbing on everything. You knew something was up, but not what it was. I was grinding my crotch into the corner of the table at the ice cream place while you talked to me. I didn't even hear what you were saying. It suddenly seemed important for me to give my ice cream head.
You thought I was teasing you, but you caught me fantasizing. I just went with it after I realized what I was doing so you would think I was teasing." "You thought I was mostly asleep on the plane ride home, but I was mesmerized by all the lights and the dream of the evening, and I fantasized the whole way home about making love to you. It was so beautiful that I came in here to make it real, because my second secret is that my mother is dying from cancer and I will have to go to a Foster home in just a little while, and who knows if I will be able to see you again?
I might be going away, Frank." Little flashes of light went off behind Frank's eyes as his brain ground through gears. …mother is dying from cancer… For the briefest instant, Frank wanted to scream at whomever it was laying next to him.
She had no right to crash the truck and infect his pecker with gangrene. They will have to cut off his fingers now, too - his fingers that touched her nakedness. They will know, and they will laugh, and they will cut. You stupid fuck! You should have listened. You did not need her sniffing around. You were warned, and you knew what would happen. You do not simply wash this girl away. After they finish laughing and cutting all of your naughty parts off, they will have to cut her from your heart and soul.
She will just be so much refuse circling the drain. Who knows where she will land? Some here… some there… a little on your heart and soul… "Frank, breath!" Frank suddenly sat up, and Eva said, "Jesus, Frank; are you okay?" He turned and looked at her, and stroked her cheek. "Eva… I almost lost you. Your mother is dying… is it okay?" Eva was confused, and her heart was beating fast.
She didn't know what he meant. "Is what okay, Frankie?" "Is it okay? Can I love you?" Eva crawled on top of Frank, and ran her fingers through his hair. She kissed him deeply and passionately, and he wrapped his arms around her. She put her mouth right next to his ear, and whispered, "Only if you want to." "Tell me how this works, Eva. You are the one with vision." "If I fucked up, Frank, please don't punish us.
It feels right. You feel right. I have no right to take what I have no right to even ask for. It's one thing to trade sneakers, but it's something else to ask you to love me. I never meant to wish that big." A tear landed on Frank's forehead, and he rolled onto his side so they were facing each other in an embrace. "Maybe you are an angel sent here to torture me, or you might be a devil sent here to reward me.
We have forever to figure it out. I never want to be away from you. I cannot even think about it." Eva tucked herself into him. In their embrace, she tilted her head up, and found Frank's lips. The room spun around, and she was speechless. As she came back to earth, she noticed something. "Frank, your belief betrays you again." "I'm sorry.
I can't help it. It just poked out." "Oh my God; are we going to make love? Are you going to make love to me?" "Eva, one way or another, you always get what we want. It just happens. Resistance is futile, and I should know that by now." "If that's really true, then you might hate me." "Why?" "Because what I fantasized about with you… I found out I'm a… dirty, filthy whore, and I can't seem to help it. I don't even know how to do this, but I imagined you doing things to me that I can't even tell you about… and now I'm getting all hot again just thinking about it.
Oh, my God!" Eva grabbed Frank and pulled her body tight against his. She began kissing him with her open mouth, licking his lips and tongue while kissing him. He was returning her kisses, and she pulled his head down to her breast. She was breathing in gasps before he even began sucking on her nipple. When his mouth found it, Eva went wild. "Oh, my God, Frank! Oh…, What are you doing? It was never like this. Oh, fuck…, what are you doing?" Frank came up for air, and said, "I'm sucking…" "Don't stop!
Don't talk. Frank? My God, my… I'm soaking wet. My… my… cunt is soaking." Frank stopped sucking, and quickly said, "I thought you never said cunt." "Oh, fuck! I love when you say cunt, Frankie. Say it again." "Cunt" Eva was nearly hyperventilating, as he played his tongue and lips over her nipple. "Frankie… do you want to know what I thought about? Can I tell you something terrible that I imagined you doing?" Frank nodded his head, but didn't stop sucking.
He wanted to quit his job and never leave her breast again. Eva was breathing louder than she talked. She said, "OK. I…, I…, you licked me down there.
You licked me&hellip. with your tongue." This was an idea that Frank suddenly found very, very appealing. He stopped sucking her nipple and moved up to talk to her. He was ready to make an offer to her, but she grabbed his head and started kissing and talking to him. "Did that gross you out Frank?
I'm sorry… I need to talk dirty… I can't help it…" "Eva, I think I would like that very much." "What? Me to talk dirty?" "No. I would like to lick you… down there." "Oh, fuck me! No! Not fuck me… yet. Yes, lick my pussy, Frank.
Are you sure? I am so wet… it doesn't matter; you said you wanted to, so now you have to. Do it now!" Eva started pushing his head down, and then almost took his head off as she threw the covers nearly off the bed with one wild swing of her arm. She spread her legs wide, and she was shaking with anticipation and nervousness.
"Frank! Pass me my legs. I want to put them behind my ears…" Frank's mouth was one inch from her crotch, and he could feel the humidity from her heat and her dampness.
Before she finished her sentence, Frank licked her like an ice cream. Eva thought she knew what an orgasm felt like, but it turns out she was wrong. One lick and she had stopped talking, and stopped breathing. Frank though he did something wrong and hurt her when she started having violent spasms. Eva wanted to kill him when he asked her if she was OK, but she could not talk.
She came close to panicking, and thought she would never breathe again. Suddenly, mercifully, she found her lungs. "Don't fucking stop! Oh, Jesus Christ! What did you do? That was your tongue? Frank, I just had an orgasm. Don't you ever fucking stop this. OK? I promise you can do anything you want later, but don't ever stop this… Frank, stick you tongue inside me.
Stick your tongue in my… cunt. It will go… inside." Eva reached down and pulled her lips apart. Frank became extremely aroused when his tongue found her fingers spreading her lips apart. He tilted his head a little, and stuck his tongue inside of her. Her pussy was actually tight on his tongue, and for a brief second, he wondered how his penis would fit in there. Eva was moaning and swearing up a blue streak of foul language. She started rocking her hips forward and back.
Frank eventually found her rhythm, his tongue coming out and going in with every thrust. She stopped rocking, and started babbling. "I love your mouth. Make your tongue long, Frank, and lick up.
Does my pussy taste OK? My little, pink pussy…, I am such a dirty girl… I'm so fucking bad…. I love you licking my cunt…; Frank, don't hate me… I can't stop this.
I love you… I'm sorry… " Frank started sucking on her pussy lips, pulling on them with his own lips, and Eva started rocking her head from side to side. She began moaning loudly as a wave rippled through her. It built up to a level where she thought she would pass out.
She turned her head, and bit into her own calf on her leg next to her head. She bit hard, and the pain blossomed at the same time her orgasm did. She wasn't sure she was going to survive, and couldn't care less about that.
It was beyond her comprehension that she was capable of feeling what she was feeling. It was impossibly good, and it was going to change everything. She didn't know why people still walked around. She knew she would never wear clothes or leave this bed ever again. Frank guessed that these spasms she was having had something to do with an orgasm.
This time, he lightened up, but did not stop. Her legs came down after a moment, and she squeezed his head with her knees, and arched her back. She finally drew another breath, and sat up a little to grab Frank's head with her hands.
"Frank… I fucking love you so much. I just had another one, and I don't know what I did to deserve you. Tell me! What did I do? How did you do that? How did you know to do what you did?" Frank was still licking, and really getting into it.
He just shrugged his shoulders, which Eva sensed, but did not see. She quickly forgot about her questions, and said, "I feel so relaxed.
I feel like my pussy is wide open. Is it?" Frank stuck his tongue inside her, and she had opened up. His tongue went right inside her with ease, and he was surprised to notice she was sort of hollow in the inside.
He hadn't noticed that. He nodded his head to her question, and continued. "Put your finger inside." He stopped licking, and gently put one finger in her.
Sure enough, she was hollow. Eva arched her back once more, and then started rocking back and forth on his finger. "Frank! I didn't mean stop licking! Keep licking… while you finger me. "I can't believe… how long does sex last? I'm still so fucking horny. I'm sorry…" "Frank? I'm so relaxed that I bet you could fit your whole hand inside me.
That's pretty relaxed, huh?" Frank first nodded, and then shook his head. "Try it, Frank. Just for a second…" "No." "Frank, don't worry. Just do it." "Eva, my hand is not going to fit inside you." She was rocking deeper and faster against his now-still finger.
"Frank, why do you have to fucking argue with me right now? Are you trying to piss me off? Why, Frank?
Just stick you hand in my cunt. I'm asking nice." Frank put his middle finger inside her along with his index finger, and she started making guttural noises and thrusting hard. He started to insert one more finger, but she cried out in pain, so he stopped.
"I mean it hurts keep going, not it hurts stop! You almost had your whole hand inside me. Do it!" "Eva, I only have two fingers in you. You are too small. That's as many as I can fit unless you want me to break my hand for you." "Frank, one part of you is so awesome but the other part… I want to… punch.
I don't appreciate you sarcasm right now. I don't have time; I have needs… and you started this… so… shut the fuck up. I just can't seem to help it. I need you to do dirty things to me. Take your fingers out and lick me all over again." "That is sooo good. Frank, lick lower…" "Even lower…; lick everywhere." "Frank, please! Are you going to make me say it? I'm embarrassed. Lick me down there&hellip. lick my… asshole." "I'm not licking your asshole." "Frank, I swear to God… you are really fucking pissing me off… I'm sorry; I shouldn't say stuff like that…, you are not pissing me off.
I took a shower; remember? My ass is as clean as a virgin's twat. Lick me and then I will suck your cock, OK?" Frank sat up straight on his knees, and bent the lower half of her body so her ass was pointed straight up at him. Eva let her legs fall forward and to each side. She could feel his penis against her back. With his tongue sticking out, Frank lowered his head, and his aim was true.
"Yes! Oh, yes. Frankie! That feels so good…, do it more… I'm so bad… making you lick… all my holes… I can feel your cock., your belief is poking my back." "Frank?" "What now!" Eva whispered very quietly" Put your finger in my ass… and don't laugh. I can't help it." "Oh! Yes! Oh my God! You are nasty. You are a nasty man. Don't hate me Frankie, just… fuck me. Fuck me in the ass." "Eva, the first time you fuck is not going to be in the ass." Eva lowered her legs to each side of him and in the sweetest voice, said, "Frank… this may sound weird, don't get grossed out, but right now I want you to kiss me.
Please fuck me. Stick your belief inside me, and come up here and kiss me. I have a powerful need to bestow kisses on your mouth. Isn't that weird?" "Eva, I don't have a condom…" "Fuck that! Fuck me! Don't act like a little girl, Frank. You have a cock, now stick it in my cunt!" Frank was hard as a rock, and getting pissed. This was not exactly how he thought it should go. He let her hips drop down to the bed. He immediately guided his penis inside her, and thrust all the way in.
Eva drew in a sharp breath from the pain/pleasure, and pulled his body down on top of hers. She threw her arms around him, and started kissing him. Frank let her, but mostly concentrated on his hips.
All of a sudden, Eva pushed up on his chest, and said, "Oh, fuck! Oh, fuck!" Frank stopped pumping. "What, Eva?" "Frank, you are going to kill me. Oh, shit! Frank, please don't hate me." "Eva! What the fuck is it?" "I forgot to tell you my third secret. I was so distracted …" Frank was near panicking, and said, "Tell me! What is it?" "Frank, I'm not really 15.
I'm only 13 years old. All those things I said about 15 being a hard age…, well 13 is impossible. I didn't lie to you; I lie to everyone about it." Frank didn't say anything, or move a muscle, and Eva finally said, "I told you I had three secrets, but you didn't count them… I didn't know we were. I was going to say." "Eva?" "God, I'm sorry.
what?" "I'm going to finish fucking you, okay? We can talk after. Right now, I'm fucking." "Gosh, yes, Frank. I thought you were going to kill me." "Eva, right now I'm wishing maybe I did fuck you in the ass first." Eva laughed, and said, "I can wear my baseball cap, and you can pretend I'm a little boy." "Eva, you have such a pretty face, and such a dirty mouth, and such a filthy mind.
How did I ever get so lucky?" Eva gave him a long and passionate kiss, and this time Frank broke his rhythm to kiss her back. She moved her lips right next to his ear, and in a soft, breathy whisper, she said, "How did you like licking my pussy? Did I taste good?
"Yes." "I'll show it to you in the light. It's pink, and fresh, and small, and tight, and my gift to you. Thank you for being my first. I will always remember this moment. You are the best, Frankie." Frank tried to imagine what her face looked like right now.
He couldn't see her in the dark, but he said, "You are the most beautiful creature on earth, inside and out. You are made from all the good stuff, Eva, and they gave you doubles." "Frank?" "Yes?" "Are you enjoying this? Do you like fucking me right now?" "Yes." "…" "God, Frankie… you really are something…" "Do you honestly think I am pretty?" "Very." "Frank?" "Yes?" "Say more beautiful things to me." "I'm going to cum, Eva…" In a display of strength Frank never thought possible, she shoved him off, and said, "Not inside me!" She shot down, and took hold of his penis, moving it an inch from her mouth.
"Cum in my mouth, Frankie…" "Okay." Frank shot into her mouth, and Eva almost ripped his penis off as she bolted upright and coughed." "You fucker," she said when she regained her breath. "You should say one two three, or something.
I almost drowned. Honest to God… you just wasted a tender moment. I was going to swallow your cum, but I coughed it onto your prick. We have to do this whole thing over now…" "Hey…, what happened? How come it's getting soft? Did I do something wrong?" "Eva, you are kidding, right?" "Kidding about what?" "I just came. It goes soft after that." "It's done?" Frank laughed and hugged her. "Give me a minute." "Thank God!" They hugged in silence for much more than a minute, and each experienced a lifetime of thoughts and emotions as their brains began to process all that just happened.
Eva kept hugging him a little closer, and Frank made sure to do the same. He didn't know how to bring up the subject of her mother, but he was determined to be available when she started to talk about it. Instead, she surprised him. "Frank?" "Yes, Eva?" "Can I use your phone?" "Sure. It's… four in the morning; who are you going to call?" "I'm supposed to tell the guidance councilor at school if a man tries to have sex with me. You stuck your thing in me.
If I call him right now, I can at least tell him you didn't fuck me in the ass, but I should probably call right now." "Eva, we shouldn't even joke about this. I can go to jail." "Frank, you are not going to make me feel guilty for this. I'll walk out of here if you want, and I won't even call you if that's what you want. But I'll tell you one thing… I feel good about what we did.
I wanted you bad. If that's bad, then I'm bad. I can live with bad. No matter what, I will always be thankful for what just happened. You should be too. It was wonderful, and we were lucky to have it." Frank scooped her up and rolled her on top of him. He gave her a long kiss, and then said, "It was wonderful. I wouldn't have dared to even dream it a few hours ago, and now I would enjoy being there when you told your councilor.
I would love to see his face when you told him all the details. I would smile and nod the whole time." "Gosh, Frank. I love the way you think." "Frank?" "Yes?" (sigh) "Would you rub my butt? I haven't had a butt rub since my mom gave me one when I was sick with a fever about 4 years ago." "Sure." Frank started to rub her ass, but he did it too lightly, and it tickled her.
She nearly hit the ceiling. "That tickles! Don't tickle my ass, Frank! Don't you know how to rub an ass? Even if you never rubbed a girl's ass, you should know how to rub a girl's ass. It's instinctive…, like sucking a tit, and you seemed to manage that just fine." "Eva?" "What is it, Frank?" "The show is starting again." "Wow! I feel it. Your belief is back." "I can't believe you want to stick your thing in me. Fucking pervert." Frank gave a small laugh, and said, "My belief is shaped by you." "Frank?" "Yes?" "Will you instill your belief in me?
I want to internalize your belief. Believe me." "Eva. you are such a liar. There is no way you are only 13." "When the sun comes up, you can count my rings." They made love one more time, and this round was much more to Frank's liking. It was slow, and deliberate, and Eva let Frank lead the whole time .Maybe that's how it will go, he thought; she leads a wild session to get it out of her system, and then she is his.
When they were finished, they held each other tight, and he heard her sob one time. He told her he loved her, and told her that she will never be alone. He caressed her forehead and ears, and he asked what he could do to help her mother.
He offered to put her in the best hospital, under the best care he could find. She only asked for one thing; she asked if he could visit a doctor and complain about missing sleep.
She wanted him to get her a bottle of sleeping pills. She told him her mother was going downhill fast because she wanted to die. She begged her mother to stay clean and sober for her remaining short time, because Eva wanted her mother to get to know her. She wanted her mother to know what a good daughter she has. Her mother couldn't do it at first, but it became obvious to Eva that lately, her mother was trying very hard to honor Eva's wish.
In the end, though, she didn't want to see her mother suffer. She wanted to tell her mother that all she had to do was say the word, and Eva would take her suffering away. She apologized for asking Frank, and said she felt bad if he thought it was wrong. He told her it was the bravest thing he had ever heard. They held each other in peaceful silence, and Frank rubbed her butt and her back until the sky started to become light.
"Frank?" "Yes, beautiful?" "You are going to put me to sleep rubbing me like this. I won't be able to cook you breakfast if I fall asleep." "That's OK, Eva. I want to sleep late." "OK, Frankie. I need to be next to you, so if you sleep, I'll sleep." "That's my girl." "Eva?" "Yes?" "If you wake up before me, make sure you stay in the yard if you go out to play. Don't talk to strangers. There's a lot of weirdo's out there." "Frank?" "Yes?" "I'm going to twist your belief." "Sweet dreams, Eva." "Gosh, Frank, they are going to be the sweetest.
I'll race you there." _______________________________________________________________________ 13 She had come home… her new home… and led Frank to their room without a word. She removed first his clothes, and then hers and they crawled under the covers together. Eva spent a minute, as she always does now, ensuring as much of her body is touching Frank's as can be.
Only then did she cry for her mother. Eva had not seen much of Frank during the past three weeks. Her mother's condition had deteriorated, and Eva didn't dare leaving her alone for a minute. Eva left it up to her mother when she wanted to end the pain for good, and that moment arrived just after the sun came up this morning.
Her mother had remained sober for the last two months, and Eva told her how proud she was. They slowly swapped rolls during this time, and Eva did all she could to make her mother comfortable. It was odd, the way her mother seemed happier, even as she became more and more ill. Eva had learned to be emotionally guarded with her mother over the years and she kept telling herself that her mother's happiness and contentment was due to her sobriety.
That was just a bit of bullshit, of course; a part of Eva knew the truth. For the first time… ever, her mother saw Eva not as a child whom she failed, but as her beautiful daughter who survived and thrived despite the failings. Her mother wasn't merely proud of her daughter; her mother was enraptured by her. Such a strong and smart girl, such a tender age to be so confident and brave.
Her mother wondered of it all. Eva had spun beautiful lies over these final days. Her mother knew the tales for what they were, but never said a thing. She loved her daughter all-the-more for them. Eva did a lot of listening too. Her mother had the chance to tell Eva all the things she hadn't told her before.
Eva was thankful her mother did not express her regrets or show remorse. They lived the remorse and her mother would not waste their time now. Nicer things needed to be said. Eva spent a great deal of time carefully explaining why she was going to be fine.
Her mother knew it was the truth, and she allowed them both the luxury of looking forward. Her mother asked Eva to have many children. She had said she saw in Eva an excess; an excess that was made for giving away, and it was why Eva would find herself surrounded by a beautiful life, because as she grew her family, she would see herself reflected in them, and there would be so much to admire in that.
Have many children, she told Eva. They will be fortunate. Eva told her mother about Frank - she even told her mother she made love to him. She told her mother about their guilt, and her mother had said the very essence of the coming of age is about sexuality. She said there is no better time to enjoy the lusty pleasures of the body, and it is a sin to not give in to those pleasures with the one you loved. Why on earth would it feel so fine otherwise?
A young, lusty body was its own reward for loving early. There is no second chance, she said; every wasted opportunity is a sin. Eva said she was worried that she wasn't doing right by Frank. Was it fair she let him love her his secret love - his forbidden love? She had cried a little over that, and she asked her mother the easiest question there is: 'why?' Questions with no answers are always the easiest. Her mother had laughed, and asked Eva if she thought hers was the first forbidden love.
She said a forbidden love is too special to waste on everybody, and her and Frank should rejoice in it. A forbidden love only admits a true love, and she told Eva that it was her duty to make sure Frank understood that, just in case he was too stupid to see it for himself.
On a night that her mother was feeling especially good, she stayed awake and let Eva ask about her father. This was something she never indulged in before. Eva had only a few fading memories of a man much older than her mother, and now she wanted to know everything. Her mother answered what she could; knowing not all of it would live up to Eva's fantasies.
Her father had been a functional alcoholic who suffered from bouts of depression all his life. He had spent years as a salesman, and had many loyal customers. The last year of his life, Eva's dad had made better than a quarter million dollars in commissions. The money was going to be used to start his own business, and he had a Rolodex full of clients he was going to walk away with to get the business off the ground.
He had distrusted banks and the government, and he stored his money inside the walls of their tidy house. He had let the insurance policy lapse, and shortly after the fire consumed their dreams, her father took his own life.
This morning, the day of Eva's 14th birthday, she had sensed her mother was ready. Eva had opened a dingy window and they watched a beautiful sunrise together. Her mother had said not a word watching it, but smiled at some last memory. Eva remembered the sun coming up at Frank's house after the first time they made love. She hoped her mother remembered that life could be so exquisite. Eva had made a brew of bitter tea and a few tears.
She served her mother a cup on a saucer, and arranged some Pepperidge Farm cookies on a plate, but her mother did not touch them. Eva held her mother's hand and told her of beautiful hopes while her mother drank in the splendor of her daughter even as she drank the tea. Both were silently thankful for this time together, and thankful for a peaceful passing.
Eva had stopped crying a while ago, and both her and Frank listened to each other's hearts beating in rhythm. She looked up and stared for a long time into Frank's eyes. She looked older today, her birthday, and Frank thought never more beautiful.
"Frank?" "Yes, love?" (sigh) "I love you." "Frank?" "Yes, my darling?" "Is there anything you need?" "Only your needs, Eva" "I don't have any more needs. I don't need as much as I thought." "Only for now, Eva" "Only for now…, what do you mean?" Frank held her face in his hands, and she closed her eyes while he tenderly kissed the corners of her mouth.
Eva slowly opened her eyes and blushed deeply. Everything about them was in tune, and she listened to her heart, and knew what he was going to say. "Eva, soon I will plant a garden in you." She thought of her mother's words, and beamed from ear to ear. "I will grow the best garden." Frank loved to watch her smile. He fell in love anew, every time she did. "I hope you have them two at a time, Eva.
Being that close to your heart for nine months - you'll spoil a lone child. It will never want to leave." "I can do that, Frank.
I pay dividends." "That's why I always believe in you." "God, Frank; you sure do."