[Here is the rest of Chapter Three, Ada at the book store. I am working on my poetry book and editing this one. Since, I am having such success with posting these to help me edit, I will post this too. Maybe I'll post another chapter the one titled "Fred Doodle Ass." Ha ha ha Ada goes into the etymology of where the word ass came from. ]
They all looked at me.
I weighed the consequence of the stress between leaving and staying. I sat down, as I put my hand in my pocket I began to play with the die I had tucked away in there; I usually have some sort of small object in my pocket. I remember this particular smooth, red cube with the white numbered grooves because I have had it since I was eight years old. I took it from the Yahtzee game that my parents and I used to play every now an then, when people came over.
(I do the same thing every time I find that gem in my pocket, I let my skin soak in the tiny circles feeling them between my thumb and forefinger.)
It was now 6:20 pm and the book club was supposed to start at 6:00 pm. I sat crossed legged thinking crisscross applesauce as I pulled my legs to the top of my chair. I held my red die; it didn’t help I could feel the eyes burning my flesh – I was rocking. I looked around and smiled, I kept rocking.
Gray Crone smiled at me.
Mildred spoke up, “Welcome everyone to Lofty Book Nook. I know some of you from before, but we have a few new people and I would like to get to know you a little before we start. The first thing that I want to make clear is that this needs to be a safe place. We all have opinions, ideas about what we read, and we need to keep open minds. I am a very easy going woman, but I do not tolerate intolerance. If you are unable to do that this is not the book club for you. We are here to learn and grow from each other, hopefully be changed and influenced in a positive way.”
I started to feel calm again, my mind started to flow in numbers – the spiral stairs smiled at me. I thought that I should be more respectful of her as well. I decided to find out her name.
She went on,”The book that we are reading is a challenging one. Based on the reviews, if you are familiar with Christianity in a Charismatic type of setting this can either be offensive or confirming, either way it should wake us up with some of our own ideologies and fallacies. Did everyone get a book? Good, good. Who has already started reading it? Oh, everyone, excellent!” Her teeth glistened with excitement and her eyes twinkled, it brought some sort of pleasure to her.
She clapped her hands together and said, “Well we are missing 5 people tonight. First nights are usually like that. We are already starting late so let’s share a little bit with each other. Let’s go around the circle, say our names and something about ourselves.”
Panic rang through me it felt like group therapy. I almost threw up.
She spoke first,“My name is Maddie short for Madeline and I own this bookstore. I used to be an English teacher, but the schools became too political for me and I had to quit. I will not go into the whole story; some of you know it all too well. I love books, people, and my two parakeets named Julia and Proteus. They are insanely in love and he sings her a love song every morning and night. It can get quite obnoxious, but when you watch them together it is hard to stay annoyed. That is all from me tonight, next.”
“Hello, my name is Nester.”
I do not know what came over me, I blurted out,“Is that your real name?”
He looked at me oddly, “Yes.”
I nearly jumped out of my seat, “Where did your parents get that name?”
I do have a fascination with people’s names, I think that may be a slight reason why I forget them or do not want to know them.
I invest too much time in people once I have given them a name. He wasn’t sure how to take me, but I had to know I had to! “Why did they name you that?” I asked practically leaping to my feet they had hit the floor by this time. If he was going to tell me some lame as reason I was going to scream.
His eyes were really big. They were hazel with splatters of different colors that let me know that there had to be something amazing about this name. He leaned back in his chair as if to get away from me, “Nestor of Gerenia, they named me after Nestor of Gerenia.”
I hopped in my chair, clapped, and squealed, “I knew it, I knew it! Oh, Nester you have a spectacular name.” When my giddiness dwindled as quickly as it came – the realization that I had exposed myself had rushed over me.
I looked at Nester, smiled calmly, “I really like mythology.” It was a strange moment, after I said that everyone smiled at me and the awkwardness faded. I was so excited about Nester, anyone who had parents who would name him that had to be interesting. He was young, I was positive that I scared him.
I forced myself to hold back all of the questions that I wanted to ask him. I let him finish speaking.
I chewed on the inside of my mouth, until I tasted blood. Then, I had to bite my lip, sit on my hands, and rub the six and one at the same time between my fingers. I fidgeted with the threads hanging off of my sweater – I stayed quiet.
I watched him closely as he shared that he was going to the community college for graphic design, but his heart was drawn into writing. His black hair held a lot of volume and was very shiny. He wore skinny jeans, his boots were all worn and taggered with big silvers buckles – I felt that his boots made up for the skinny jeans.
His arrow-shaped nose was large, but fit well with his pale skin. When he spoke his hair would fly and his lanky body kind of quivered along with the vibrations of his voice. I continued to get mesmerized by his puffy lips that touched with every word. I could not look at his lips for long though, they bothered me. He annoyed because he would not show his teeth.
[It is always more telling when a person hides their teeth than their eyes.] His fingers were long stick-like phalanges, they flicked all around when he spoke. He seemed kind – a gentle spirited kid. I was intrigued to see what he had to share in my world.
After Nester had finished, a girl who looked to be in her 20′s spoke.
“My name is Bianca. I work across the street at the bakery, and I am a self-taught baker. I really enjoy making soft, fluffy French pastries.
Her words came out flat and plain. Her blonde hair lightly bounced around her face, plainish pink skin covered her frame, her light brown eyes seemed comfortable, with a hint of awkward. Nothing like me, she was neither boisterous nor mousy. As the words poofed out of her mouth like a soft marshmallow, her whole demeanor was as if watching a delicate puffed pastry rise in the oven.
I instantly enjoyed her and her name – Othello! I thought, as I wondered if she was a jealous lover. She seemed too flaky like a perfect pie crust to be a jealous lover. However, it looked to me that she held the qualities of Bianca in Taming of the Shrew – obedient and sweet-tempered.
I became consumed with all of the names. They started to spin through my head. Shakespeare was clamouring in my skull, beating through the books that surrounded us, as though I was in some Alice in Wonderland version of Tell -Tale Heart. My heart was pounding as Bianca rose like a buttery flaky croissant with gentle, glazed words.
“I would love to find people that I could relate to and share my thoughts with and learn fro—”
Bursting through my lips the letters bounced out and danced in a stream of white fluffy clouds, “Bianca, your name is in Othello and The Taming of the Shrew!”
The words took over.
“Did you know that the inner satellite of Uranus was originally called Peaseblossom, but was later changed to Bianca due to the US and USSR having a silly conflict about the name so it was changed to Bianca? Bianca, Bianca, Nester, Nester! Fabulous. Wonderful. Delightful.”
My hands took over waving up and down. Clap, clap, clap Then my feet had a party of their own. Stomp, stomp, stomp After a few minutes of this, the ceiling started to quake with my giddy giggles. Finally, I calmed.
Maddie looked at me confused, “Ada, did you want to speak next?”
I was perplexed. “No.”, I said flatly while, I wondered what gave her that idea? Everyone looked around at each other then, at Maddie. Gray Crone was smiling – she started to turn a bit bluish in color.
Maddie smiled at everyone, landing her eyes upon me, “Do you really like literature?”
I laughed. A loud, thunderous sound bounced off the walls, leaving trickles of little echoes springing off the black staircase.
The realization of my behaviors overpowered me at once. I had interrupted someone, again. My eyes sank into Bianca’s, the awkward pain filled my bones, but I knew it was more important to keep eye contact than to allow anxiety seep into my pores. “I am so sorry. I am very nervous, when I am nervous I tend to connect things. If they have a special meaning to me – I get obsessive about it. I am sorry to you too, Nester. Please forgive me for interrupting you both. I want to try being here, but maybe I am not cut out for this book club.”
I was surprised that everyone wanted me to stay. There were no indications of people being offended. Gray Crone had a strange grin with what seemed like a little twinkle in her left eye. Bianca tilted her head, she had a soft smile, “I think it is fascinating that you connect names to literature so quickly.”
Maddie gave a warm look, “I find your trivia bits to be interesting as well.”
I looked around at all of the people, it felt inviting. They did not comment on my animated expressions, or body movements. The atmosphere felt a little, slightly comfortable. I managed to limit my outbursts as the others spoke their names and shared some information about them.
My mind started to race, I had no idea what I would say about myself. My thoughts were swimming with every detail of each person. Their words became loud thumps and pounds throughout my neurons. The shape of my fist shaped pump was protruding through my flesh. I watched it thump in and out, fearing that everyone else would see my heart trying to escape my cavity as well.
I could not get consumed in the other names – I had no interest in them, at the time. I did not truly hear them I was too busy clasping my hands together tightly; as I studied the features of each person. I was taken into their details as the words danced out of their mouths, singing with colorful tunes.
One of the guys was a violinist. He played in the local symphony and also taught at a classical school nearby. I was intrigued. I stared at the black streaks on the tips of his fingers. He mentioned that he had been practicing for a reception scheduled for later in the week.I could not take my eyes away from his fingers. The tips looked like tiny train tracks from the indention’s; discoloration from his skin chemistry looked to flip about winding with the metal from the strings.
His music soared through my cranium, sweeping me into twining notes pinging along my cells. I wanted to see and hear him play right then and there. The longer we sat listening to his words the more I could see the color – indention’s faded into the unknown of pigmentation sinking into his skin.I could feel the music notes leap off his fingers into my ears. It mingled some mystical feel that comforted me.
My eyes carried to the older woman who seemed very out of place. She looked strangely uncomfortable, but not in the same way as I was. The air about her swirled a sense of superiority. At the same time, she was trying to be kind. It was off putting. It was a familiar presence that I could not place that at moment – it took a few more interactions with her for me to figure it out. I quickly became bored. Her words filled the room with shallowness.
After her, I spoke. Stress and fear consumed me jumbling all of my words. They crashed into each other, blocking my vocal chords, until I felt like I was choking. The waves of letters formed tripping my words. They managed to squeeze out of my throat finagling, “I met a guy today at work, but not really I spoke to him for a second, but I watched him.”
I had no way to stop the words from escaping.
”I think I may be in love, but I don’t know because I have never been in love before. Although, I am pretty sure I am because I have never felt this before. It reminded me of bits in Romeo and Juliet, but that may sound really cheesy.”
My brain was trying desperately to stop my tongue from wagging the insanities. My brain was yelling, “Stop! Oh, my god! What are you saying?”
While my tongue was flapping and my lips were spewing,”He also made me hear a song in my head from my teenage years called “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns and Roses. They used to be one of my favorite bands. I had all of their albums. Plus some bootlegs. The song made me feel safe.
Losing all control over my limbs, mouth, and brain, I sang,“Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place, where as a child I’d hide, and pray for the thunder and the rain, to quietly pass me by”
Stopping mid-tune, “It always made me want to keep my hair long. My hair always keeps me safe and hidden. He made me feel like that.”
Feeling my brain skip, but not miss a beat,” I am already on chapter 5. Five is red. I like its bottom swoop. Starbucks Preacher, so far; well I really like it. It has been very difficult for me though, I have a lot of issues with church and God.”
Rapidly, combing over that tidbit I jumped quickly to, “Some other music that I like is Fritz Seitz’ Student Concerti No. 2 and No. 5. That adds up to seven. Look! There are seven of us. I wonder who belongs in the other five seats.”
I felt eyes burning my flesh, again. The whole group had spiraled into a blur as I was talking. I had almost forgotten they were there. When the heat of their eyes dug into me I remembered that I was not alone. I looked at Gray Crone who was now sitting straight up. She had turned a lovely soft blue. She had green eyes. She looked at me with her arms crossed, “Wunderbar! meinem Freund wunderbar!”
German! I loved her.
Practically jumping over the wide open space, her words flew at me, “What is your name?”
We gathered into a different dimension. Our eyes locked, with a slightly sharp though, gentle curve of her lips she simply said, “You can call me Emmy. Emmy Rings or Fritz if you like.”
I giggled. Silently, we understood. I watched in awe as her face turned a lovely shade of indigo. I looked around the chairs the people were all still smiling. My awkwardness had not scared them away. My abruptness had not made them grimace.
I cannot recall the rest of the words I was overwhelmed with liking people. I fell in love with their brains.
It had been too much for one day. I needed to escape to my precious home. I needed to climb into bed with my perfect Mr. Cat. I could not wait to get home to tell him all about my day.
I used to get worried about my cat getting depressed without me. I would think, “Poor, poor Nicholas, he needs me ever so.”
He was my quiet friend who let me talk away about all of my emotions and feelings that I never understood. He was my therapy cat. I would pet him as I struggled with trying to discover what I was feeling.
I did not know how to handle all of the emotions that had consumed me that day. I wasn’t sure if I liked them at all. I had written down on a piece of paper that night, “I fear by morning I will be in a state of black with no rainbows to discover at all. Nick-Knack will cover me in kitty kisses to help blow away the fears I have to face at work tomorrow.”