After buying the sodas at the gas station, they crossed the street to sit down on the sidewalk. They found the first best, place which was the still warm wall next to a flower shop with rows of violets crammed in the front window, as if they had been hauled in quickly during the day.
They might very well have been. It had been quite a summer’s day – and now night – here in Columbus, and the two young women had had most of the cinema to themselves.
People had better things to do than watch 11 PM showings of scifi train wrecks, it seemed.
But not Carrie Sawyer and Lin Christakis.
“Actually, I find it quite appropriate – ” Lin said as she popped her cola open “ – that the monster did not die.”
“Oh?” Carrie said and gulped down her own lukewarm drink directly from the can – and then spat it out: “Fuck – you took one they had only just put in!”
“Sorry,” Lin said, “I can go back and get another one.” She started to get up.
“No – “ Carrie said and grabbed Lin’s cola. “Just gimme that!”
Carrie drank a bit and then handed the can back to Lin.
“That’s better. Why didn’t you check?”
“Sorry again, mate – he just put’em in the bag, you know and then I paid.”
“Well, at least we have one cold drink.” Carrie leaned back against the bricks and a tired but satisfied smile slowly spread over her lips. “Do you think Alan and Nadine made it home all right?”
Lin snorted: “They didn’t even make it home, the way they behaved – let me tell you that. And the night is warm enough.”
“Warm enough for what?”
“Shut uuup … “ Lin boxed Carrie on the shoulder, but it was the friendliest pain Carrie had felt all day.
“You know … ” Carrie said and followed a lone, slow moving van with her eyes “ … we should be jealous.”
The van passed them and its tail lights were still visible long after its drowsy engine hum had been absorbed into the quiet summer night. Carrie kept staring in the general direction, a dreamy look in her eyes.
“They’re high school friends,” Lin said in a tone as if she was making a routine conclusion to a philosophical problem long out-debated. “Now they are college-friends. And above all – friends. I wish the best for them … ”
“Friends … “ Carrie said and turned her head back to Lin. “Can I have more of that cola? My head hurts.”
“Is it the heat or that bottle of wine we did before we let Natasha entertain us?” Lin asked, a sly smile showing quickly then disappearing and back was the standard Christakis-poker face.
But it was a beautiful poker-face, not particularly because of Lin’s gossamer features surrounding those intense deep dark-brown eyes, but more because when she was happiest it always looked as if there was some secret she did not tell you but really wanted to, and it would make you laugh when you knew.
That’s what Carrie loved about Lin – that was where it all started: That was what you could see if you knew her. If you had lived with her for almost two years sharing two apartments and argued about dishes and change for laundry machines and Nietzsche and bad scifi movies. You knew it was there, just under the surface of the smile, something beautiful – more than was ever evident in what you could see. And you remembered it when there were blacker nights and visits to the psych ward, and you weren’t sure it was a safe call to have that many pills in a glass in the bathroom at the same time.
The good periods outweighed the bad and when you are 19 you can’t imagine it otherwise. You have tremendous powers of suppression, because your whole life is in front of you and no one is going to take that away.
And summer nights with train wrecks on screens, they are the life-blood of your future. That kind of happiness is strong and real and obviously it must win and in the end come to stay forever.
“What did you mean?” Carrie asked, when Lin had not spoken for some time, “about it being good that the monster won? I thought it was a shame. I wanted the movie to end.”
“No more sequels?”
“No,” Carrie said, “I couldn’t stand it, even if she is pure eye-candy.”
“Nothing to be jealous of again?” The sly smile again …
“She is a movie-star, Lin,” – Carrie shrugged, trying to make it sincere “ – she is supposed to look better than the rest of us. Maybe all the making out between her and the others did something for Alan and Nadine, you know – they looked like they were in a hurry to get home. And she told me they hadn’t, you know … for two weeks at least.”
“Dunno – too many books, I suppose. Or Alan hasn’t been himself since his father died. It’s hard … “
“Movies with monsters having sex usually isn’t the recipe,” Lin said, “to get over that … “
There was just the slight edge of pain in her tone now and Carrie got up quickly, holding her hand out to Lin.
“Let’s go home. Fuck monsters. Fuck bad movies.”
“And you love both,” Lin said and grinned but took Carrie’s hand and got to her feet.
“I love this night,” Carrie said. “That’s enough.”