A NOTE BEFORE READING: I began sharing weekly excerpts from my novel, The Somebody Who, on June 26, 2010. If you want to begin at the beginning, go here. If you want to read the book in its entirety, head over to Amazon and purchase a copy. (There’s a button on the left that will take you there).
“Hey, check it out!” Joy says, rubbing leather sleeves with her mother once they have pulled out of their enthusiastic hug. “Looks like we’re in the same gang!”
“Do you think people will suspect we planned it?”
“Do I care?”
“Oh, Joy!” Evelyn says, putting an arm around her daughter and pulling her into a sidelong hug as they walk hurriedly through the pedestrian traffic. “I’m so glad we’re doing this.”
An uptown local is just pulling in as they arrive on the crowded Lex line platform, and Evelyn, having not played the Manhattan rush-hour subway game in more years than she can remember, spontaneously grabs Joy’s hand. Joy, understanding her mother’s situation, guides them onto the
packed train. They find a place near a vertical pole and claim their connection to balance before the subway doors close.
Once the train begins to make its way to 51st Street, where they will be deboarding, Joy leans into her mother. “Did you see what I’m wearing?” she asks, as she mimics a flasher’s move by using one pocketed fist to open her jacket a bit.
“The dress!” Evelyn enthuses, recognizing the navy fabric. “Won’t you be cold, though?”
“Why do you think I wore a jacket, Ma?” Joy teases girlishly, making Evelyn feel like a girl, too.
Although they are relatively on-time for the Elder Haven event, the Waldorf’s Empire Room is already buzzing when they make their entrance. Evelyn immediately relaxes a bit when she realizes she is dressed quite suitably for the occasion. And when she sees the no-host bar in the near corner, she relaxes a bit more.
“Race you to the wine,” Joy says playfully, reading her mother’s mind.
As they saunter toward the bar, Evelyn hears her name called out. She and Joy turn simultaneously.
“Ashley! Hello!” Evelyn exclaims, smiling as she hugs her new friend.
“I’m so glad you could make it, Evelyn. Did you see the display of Dr. Bennett’s art?”
“Not yet. We just got here. And Ashley, this is my daughter, Joy.”
“Hi, Joy. So nice to meet you,” Ashley says, as she shakes Joy’s hand. “Your mom told me about you. You’re in Fort Greene, right?”
“Yes! I’m on Clinton, just off DeKalb.”
“What a great area. Have you been there long?”
“Going on eleven years,” Joy responds, causing Evelyn to shudder at the passage of time.
“Wow! Good for you! So, I bet your rent is almost reasonable.”
“I am the envy of several neighbors,” Joy says, smiling.
“Excuse me, Ashley,” an older woman interjects. “We have a question at the sign-in table.”
“I’ll be right there,” Ashley says, agreeably.
She then turns back to Evelyn and Joy. “Work time.”
“Are we supposed to sign in?” Evelyn asks.
“Whenever you get a chance,” Ashley responds. “Just to get your table number. Oh! And, I put you at a table with Gus and Ben!”
Off Evelyn’s confused look, Ashley adds, “Gus Michaels!”
“They’re coming?” Evelyn asks, excitedly.
“They’re supposed to!
“Anyway,” Ashley then turns to Joy, “really nice to meet you. And, if you ever want to meet for dinner, I’m in your neighborhood a lot. I’m taking a class at Pratt.”
“That’d be great,” Joy replies, genuinely pleased with the prospect. “I’ll get your number from my mom.”
“Great. Well,” Ashley says then, as she begins to hurry off, “have a wonderful time tonight! And be sure to look at the auction display!”
“I like her vibe,” Joy says to her mother, after Ashley has disappeared into the crowd.
* * *
to be continued on April 30th.
In the meantime, if you want to read a short piece about the back story, click here.