Occasionally we will include here a short story for your reading pleasure. These are previously unpublished stories written by this Author.
Georgia, a short story by;
© Sept. 2001
I remember as though it were yesterday.
It was our first day of school at St Patrick. The very first day! We were starting first grade. I was crying because I was scared as hell, I’ll tell you! She wasn’t crying though, she was watching me. She was concerned. Georgia was the prettiest girl in the class with her long auburn hair in large curls clear to her shoulders. She sat next to me too. We became best friends, we did. We did every thing together; even ride the bus to and from school. She lived two blocks away and I didn’t even know it.
She was shy like me and we didn’t talk unless the Sister asked us questions. Of course we really liked recess, but didn’t play together much because the girls didn’t play with boys at school. Once we found out where we lived we went to each other’s house a lot. She liked my house the best.
One day it was raining; a real gully washer as it did a lot in Portland. St Patrick was in southwest Portland, in a Catholic/Jewish enclave. It stopped raining only long enough for us to have recess outside. A terrible accident happened! I heard Sister Gloria telling Mother Superior that a child had fallen off the banister in the play area. The stairway went clear to the third floor of the convent where the sisters lived. The banister was wide enough for us to slide down.
The nuns were scurrying around in their short shuffling double time gait with their habits flowing behind them. Get out of their way or you’d get run over! Mother Superior called the firehouse and they brought an ambulance with them. The Spotted dog stayed on the truck in the back with the fireman that drove the ladder truck’s back wheels.
That was sure a scary time. Mothers were picking up their kids. Sisters were crying. Things did settle down though and we eventually went back to class. After it stopped raining, again, sister Gloria sent me out to see if the blood had washed away from the play yard pavement. My mom got really mad that she had done that. Go figure!
I continued to play with Georgia as often as I could, but no one else did. In fact, my Grandfather was the only person that really liked Georgia. He would talk to us when we played. Mom would watch us play, but never said anything to her. I didn’t think she liked her. I didn’t understand either, because she was really nice. She didn’t go to St Patrick after the accident.
We stayed friends until we became girlfriend and boyfriend. I never touched her, honest! She didn’t like me to touch her, literarily. Then we were more than friends. We couldn’t sleep together after the third grade. She didn’t want to. I did! We took naps in the afternoons and sometimes she stayed over, until later I mean.
She didn’t swim with me when I and some other friends would go down to the river. The Willamette River was dirty there with all the Second World War junk stored on the banks. We especially liked the rafts. There must have been thousands of them all tied together in very long rows. The train would go by on the track above and scare us, or sometimes we would hide by a barrel on a small platform jutting out. We could almost reach out and touch the train when it passed by in a screaming blaze of fear. We loved it. Georgia would sit on the rafts and watch me be a great worrier killing Nazis.
Most of my friends thought I was crazy for talking to her. I guess they didn’t like girls. But Georgia was different! She didn’t act like other girls, but that didn’t change the way they treated her. I didn’t care. I liked her; she was my bud.
Eventually Mom made me stop seeing her. She told me I wasn’t supposed to talk to her or play with her or anything. I didn’t pay any attention to her. I often had Georgia sneak into my room when no one was watching. Grandpa didn’t tell. We went walking a lot together and would talk about anything and everything. We especially liked the walks on the railroad in the hills above my house. There were trees on both sides of the track; almost touching the train when it came by. There were Bums along the track we would talk to. It was a good place! Sure the guys teased me some, but I just sloughed it off. We enjoyed each other’s company; that was that. It became harder and harder to hide her the older we got.
I remember we were twelve when Grandpa went to the hospital. He was real sick with cancer and was dying and they wouldn’t let me in the room because I was just a kid. I was afraid! Georgia sneaked in and told me what was going on. Not good, she told me.
Georgia was the kind of girl that could slip past people without them noticing. I always wished I could have been more like her in that area, but I was tall for my age and was noticed wherever I went. No one ever seemed to notice her. I couldn’t figure it out either because she was so pretty. She was quiet, I’ll grant her that!
Grandpa asked to see me. I was waiting outside the room on a very hard cold chair a nurse had given me. He wanted to see me alone so the rest of the family had to leave the room. Cool! He asked how I was and if I was afraid. I told him I didn’t want him to die. He said we really didn’t die. We sort of went to the other side. He wasn’t afraid and said I shouldn’t be either. Then he got real serious. He said, “listen very carefully.” He paused to make sure I was listening, “ I want to take Georgia with me.”
I was shocked; couldn’t say anything! He smiled and told me that I had had her long enough and she should be allowed to go with him. He said I knew what he meant and should face up to reality. I was twelve now and this had to stop.
I started crying. He asked that I stop and listen. “You see her, but no one else does, you know that!” I guess I did; of course I did! Georgia was standing next to the bed. She was smiling at me. I asked if she wanted, that. She nodded and looked at Grandpa still smiling and holding his hand.
All of a sudden the bells and alarms started sounding, screaming in my ears! Grandpa was smiling and winked at me. The nurse came, pushed me aside and hollered for me to get out of the room. Doctors and a whole lot of other people came in right behind her. I went to my chair. The noise eventually stopped and my Mom and Dad were told that he had died.
I was by myself. Georgia was still in the room and I wanted to talk to her. They wouldn’t let me in! I had to wait. When the room emptied she wasn’t there! She was gone! I went out on the balcony to be alone.
The air was cold coming over the railing. I stood holding that cold rail with all my might to keep from bawling like a baby. I couldn’t imagine how it would be without her. Then I felt her breath on my cheek. She kissed me and whispered she loved me and would wait for me on the other side, but not to hurry.
They tore down the old school and replaced it with a parking lot. I’m standing in it. I can remember when they took Georgia away in the ambulance. I didn’t let her go. I didn’t want to accept that such a terrible thing could happen to someone I loved.
I’ve not heard from her since that day she kissed me goodbye, but I feel her presence all the time. She grew up through me, at least for a few more years than she might have otherwise had. I’m happy for that and glad that my Grandfather understood.
So when I see a child talking to him or herself, I smile. I know about that.