The Lobby


It’s my birthday! As my birthday is progressing, I have decided I’m going to talk about that which is my favorite to talk about. I’m gonna tell you all about the love of my life. This is a section of my autobiography. It is the third volume, and the thirteenth book of the autobiography titled Reality of the Unreal Mind. This section is called The King’s Concubine. It’s about the times when me and my wife almost got together spanning from the last day of eighth grade til six years later, when we actually did connect. So today we talk about the near-misses of love. This is the second post in this series. I will be releasing them all day.

Now we’re talking about my day, and I live on a 48-hour schedule. So a new one of these will be coming out every two hours and 45 minutes from now until 2 in the morning on the 24th, when I go to sleep.

Shadow had a friend. He was terrible to him in the beginning and the end. You know him as Kickstart, and he did not get along with his sister.

We used to meet in the lobby of the school. You know this. We used to talk about how everyone sucked. You know this. But the day I saw Bekah in the lobby, he was really confused.

He was Shadow’s friend, but that day Guardian was out, sitting and pretty quiet. The chairs we sat in front of faced a long ramp that went up and, with a slight turn, stopped at the doors to the library. That day, from out of those doors stepped three girls. I can’t remember the third, but one was Kickstart’s sister. The other was Her.

They talked and laughed, and Guardian saw the face of the girl from Old Settlers Days. She wore green, her hair was long and straight. Her face warm and round, and her smile was a beam of light. She laughed and she seemed otherwise quiet.

“I don’t remember her name.” Guardian said it quietly and reverently.

“Who? Who are you looking at? ‘Cause I know it’s not my sister,” Kickstart said.

“She is beautiful.”

“Dude, you are fucking gross.” Now Kickstart’s sister was beautiful, but not breathtaking, and Guardian could hardly breathe.

“You have to ask your sister who that is, who she is walking next to,” Guardian said.

“Dude, that is one of my sister’s friends. If you get with her, I will have to be around my sister,” Kickstart said.

Guardian saw her look at him, and he pulled back. Out came Shadow, who shook his head. “Muthafucker, that is the girl!”

“What girl? I don’t even know who you are talking about.”

Bekah and her friends reached the end of the ramp and turned for the stairs that went down to the lunch room.

“Dude, what girl?” Kickstart said.

“The one with the ass,” Shadow said. “Don’t tell me you don’t see that ass.”

Bekah in profile is a thing to see, but soon she turned. She almost looked like a regular girl.

“Not seeing an ass,” he said.

“How could you miss it?”

“Cause I’m not at all interested in a girl’s ass.”

“Ask your sister who she was walking with today.”

“Nope. I don’t talk to her.”

Shadow turned to him and growled. “Ask that girl’s name. Please.”

“What girl? What did she look like?”

But Shadow had few details. “She has a face, and hair, she smiles, and she has an ass.”

“I’ll get right on that,” Kickstart said.

Not until the next morning could Shadow tell him anything that might narrow down the girl he was talking about. And when he got to school, he dropped into that seat and waited.

When Bekah came out again, he elbowed Kickstart. “Her,” he said. “That girl right there. Ask your sister who she is.” He did not point, but with a bit of description, Kickstart saw her. “Watch the ass.”

Kickstart watched Bekah walk by and shook his head. “The big ass? I don’t understand.”

“We do not call that big,” Shadow said, turning to look Kickstart in the eye when Bekah was out of sight. “That is what we call a thick ass.” Shadow grinned and looked where she had disappeared to. “Never big.”

The next day in the lobby with Kickstart, we talked about other things. Servant was out, and he didn’t even know who Bekah was, let alone know to ask about her. But when the Bekah show turned at the library, Shadow was waiting.

“Did you get that girl’s name? Tell me you didn’t let me down.”

“Her name is Bekah,” Kickstart said.

The turn, and Shadow is gawking. “Bekah what?”

“No idea.”

“Do we have to do this again?” Shadow said. And we did. There was not much Shadow could do with a first name. He needed a last name to hunt her down, and he did not have one yet.

Next day same lobby, same chair.

“Dad calls it the center line,” Kickstart says. “It goes from the neck, straight down the button-up shirt, to the zipper, to the bottom of the crotch. And if it is off-center at all, bent or even a little round, dad freaks out. Evidently when that happens, I am messy.”

She came, batter up, now the real show. “What’s her name?” Shadow said.

“Oh yeah, your ass girl.”

“Thick. Never big.”

“Yeah, her name is Bekah Lynch.” He grinned and waved a hand in her direction as she turned and was headed into the lunch room. “Go nuts.”

“Watch my bag,” Shadow said without taking his eyes off her. He stood and felt strong, no weak-in-the-knees like he expected. He took the stairs two at a time as she drifted into the lunch room, and he followed.

This is tricky business. I don’t know if you ever followed a girl charged with mystery and lust in your heart, but you can’t just walk up to her.

Shadow knew he could not talk to her. His gut was tied up too much. He just needed to watch her. She turned right and followed the wall alongside the lunch tables. He went straight. He walked and stared like a hunting cat (there, I think I have worked a puma into all three books now), and he watched her.

Maddening, because so many unimportant people are in the way. She stopped and talked to a table of cheerleaders before walking where he could not see her, which he thought was rude, and sitting.

He stalked all the way across the front of the room and to the left side, where he walked for a while, just to get a better look. He saw the back of her head and was struck with how straight her hair was. He had never seen such a straight head of hair before. It fell like a caramel curtain to the middle of her back, and he wanted to stroke it.

That would be too creepy. He was already way over the creepy line by following a girl he barely knew the name of into a room of people, staring at her and stalking her. But he still had to see her better, and kept walking.

She was seated between two rows of tables sideways on the bench with one leg under the table and the other sticking out into the aisle. Shadow needed to say something, and he was not thinking clearly, so he walked that aisle. As he passed her, he bumped into her knee.

“Sorry,” he said.

“It’s fine,” she said with a giggle.

He looked at her face and had now heard her voice. He thought himself slick, thought he had gotten away with something. Down across the right wall, straight to the doors, back out into the lobby, and back to his seat.

“How did it go?” Kickstart asked.

“It’s fine,” Shadow said with a laugh.

But she had seen him in the lobby. He had walked right past her and back to the lobby after getting her to talk to him casually. She could tell he had come to talk to her.

Shadow was not as slick as he thought.

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