I’m on my way to Pearl’s rooms above the store. Something is up. I know this because Pearl said she would still be at home when I arrived and it was very important that I be on time…As if I was ever late. If I’m going to be late for something, I don’t go. That’s just the way I am. I’m usually so early, I’m tired of where I am before all the rest of the people even get there. If you can read me, I’m mad! I’m pretty sure I’m going to get blamed for what happened, yesterday. It might have been a little bit my fault, but I still shouldn’t get blamed because I’m not quite emotionally old enough to fully understand what I did. I’m a little bit emotionally stunted…yes, that’s it…I’m emotionally stunted. It happens to some kids and it can take time to bring emotionally stunted kids emotions up to speed. I’m more than willing to do the work, but I just need everybody to back off a little.
Well, I’m not there yet, but I almost am.
“Hi Pearl, Hi Pearl the dog, I’m here are you?”
“I said, hi Pearl, hi Pearl the dog, I’m here, are you?” They must be over at Grace’s. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to go over there this morning.
“Hi, Grace, hi Pearl the dog, I’m here, are you.”
“Come on down the hall. Grace and I are in her room.”
I did not know that voice, but I went down the hall and was about to open the door to Grace’s room when someone opened it from the other side. It was a girl. She was really pretty and she looked pretty old…maybe twenty-three.
“Hi,” she said. “You must be Essie-Ellie. I’m Faith-Hope and I’m glad to finally meet you. Aunt Grace finally fell asleep. Let’s go wait for Grams in her kitchen. I could really use a good cup of coffee.”
“You are Pearl the human’s granddaughter! You came here to straighten everything out didn’t you, Faith-Hope? Wow that was fast!” I started to explain my side of the situation, but she interrupted me.
“Heavens no, Essie-Ellie. I’m not crazy enough to try to make sense of anything Grams and Aunt Grace do. Why do you think I live so far away? I’m crazy about both of them, but I’m not crazy like them. Would you like a cup of coffee?”
I couldn’t believe this cool older girl was offering me coffee. She seemed so…polished… like a gem. And I was pretty sure her emotions weren’t stunted.
“Yes, please,” I said. “I like mine so thick you can stand a spoon up in it. Here’s the sugar and I’ll get the milk from Pearl’s ice box. Would you like me to get some saucers of leftovers out, too?”
“Only if there’s cherry pie in there. I’m sorry Grams made you come over here so early. She ran to the Busy Nest for a minute, but she’ll be right back. Pearl the dog shot out of here like a bullet and jumped right in the pink Cadillac. When did she start riding in the car? She used to hate it.”
“When Grace broke her tailbone, I guess. Did Pearl and Grace tell you what happened yesterday?” I had to get it out. The memory of it was stunting my emotions so much, I was afraid I was going to become downright emotionless.
“Do you mean the little incident with the Methodist Church basement cooks?”
This Faith-Hope was growing on me, but I didn’t want to appear gulpable, so I kept my answer short.
“Sit down and drink your milk and sugar with a little coffee in it. Grams is not going to lose the business of this whole town because you told the church basement cooks her Sunrise Service Tea was made with Tang. Although, it would have been easier for them to swallow if you hadn’t told them the Tang Tea had been specially blessed by John Glenn on his Mercury flight last year. Church ladies aren’t quite ready to think about men in space. It doesn’t sound heavenly to them. I, myself, think with the sun, and the stars and the oceans and the heavens…It all makes perfect sense.
Don’t worry about it, Essie-Ellie. Just like everything else in this town, it will all blow over and Grams will be onto something new anyway. Have you seen her Pearl’s Girls?”
“Thanks, Faith-Hope. I just can’t lose my job at Pearl’s Busy Nest. It’s all I have in this world to keep me interested in the lives of others. You dress cute. Pearl says you attended college long enough to be a brain surgeon. Are you a doctor?”
“No, I live in California now. I own Pilgrim’s Bakery. (Just kidding.)
I’m a fashion designer. I guess you could say I get my fashion style from Grams…But please don’t.