Chapter 13

All This


Estrelica found her way to the Elliott Bay Bookstore, fished for her friends and found them all behind the pantry making lunch for her as they stood by the cash register. Estrelica took Greta upstairs for a few minutes, taking her to the first photography book she ever saw; over in the children’s section she pointed out Pooh; the first journal of Anais Nin; and stopped by ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God.’

Greta didn’t have to ask many questions and let Estrelica beam until she said "Greta, I want to do it."

"Do it. They’ll be saying that in ten years," Greta said stomping the ceiling just above the table below where Alice, Midge, Fiona and Jeanette were talking about Estrelica and Marx and Jason and Vic, and made shadows as they leaned across the table.

"I heard she was with Vic last night."


"It was only a matter of time."

"I wish she’d just...I don’t know. I mean, she still likes reggae, for Christ’s sake."

"Oh, hey, did you hear the one about the doorknob that came walking down the street?"

Estrelica and Greta rejoined the table where their friends were and looked at Estrelica before offering her a chair.

"So, have you seen his cave yet?"



"Who is he, anyway? I only just met him." Estrelica asked.

"Widowmaker, or widowbreaker, actually. Stay away. Do you remember the guy who always stood by the pipeline? The one who always whistled that one song? The one who always got torn up?"

"He’s still trying to get back to England. Or at least that’s the last line I heard he was using. Did you hear that one, Strel?"

"He asked me if I wanted to marry him."

"Yeah, that’s the one. Use his passport or whatever."

"He asked you?"

"No, but I heard about it. He never asked me."

"And he had his eyes on me once."

"But, it was me before you."

"Only by a couple of days."

"Estrelica, could you actually see yourself getting all cozy-wozy, snuggly-wuggly with Vic?"

"Well, what’s waiting for me here?"

"Yeah, it’s really the hip thing to do right now; to leave where you’re from, but I’m happy right here."

"Look, if you go with him, you’ll hate the place if he dumps you."

"I don’t have to be with him, though."

"Yeah, right. But, what does he get out of it?"

"I don’t know. I already have to give him back his lighter."

"He fishes in bathtubs, Estrelica. You must have told him what he wanted to hear."

"Well, how did I know what he wanted to hear? All I know is that he has something to share."

They all laughed as their shadows on the table disappeared as they all leaned back to laugh some more. Estrelica looked at Greta, who looked back at Estrelica as they disappeared back upstairs. They got in Estrelica’s car because Greta needed to meet Jenny for lunch at Daniel Smiths, and laughed at the table full of shadows they’d just left.

Greta and Estrelica were the first in their class to try kissing boys. They shoplifted before everyone else; they had to set up an abortion fund for their friends. They never had to ask each other "why?" and they would head down to the beach every Saturday night anyway and stayed until everyone else had gone home.

But, if Greta had a dollar for every one Estrelica owed her.... If Greta hadn’t had to crash at Estrelica’s a few nights.... If one of them had stayed around Audrey a little longer....

"Do you remember how there was always a guy in the last house on the street and you always wondered where he was going to ride his bike? And once he took you through the weeds, away from the pipeline, out to Golden Gardens after everyone had gone home? He’d never really outright say anything, but, you just knew? And he acted like he’d known you for years?"

"Yeah, I remember."

"And you always wondered what his jaw felt like....all that and Europe, too?"

"They’re all mad."

"No, they’re just not mad enough."

"You will write, won’t you?"

"Only if I can find the time."

"At least a change of address from time to time."

"Well, it’ll still be a few weeks. I have a lot of things to tie up first."

"Estrelica, there’s a good chance I’ll be getting married soon. And if you can, I’d really like you to be there."

"Do you have a date in mind?"

"Oh, no."

"A season?"


"If I have the money, you know I’ll be there."

Greta smiled, gave her a hug and went to meet Jenny for lunch.

"Love you, Greener," Estrelica hollered as she got back into traffic.


Keith leaned forward on his bike so he could hear Vic.

"Remember the one in the burgundy house who’d show you her tongue and never dried herself after a shower and you looked up once and you’d been there for, like, four hours? Four hours and she was still warm....Hey, do you still have my dulcimer?"

Vic found his way back from the Buckaroo, headed for an on-ramp near the 5 Point, and gave Keith his bike back.

"Vic. Come back sometime, huh?"

"I’ll try."

"You got a lot of guts."

"Oh, is that what you call it?"

"Remember standing on the onramp in Roseberg for five hours that scorchy June, on the way down to Sacramento?"

"I always had to grab your keys and your wallet for you?"

"Yeah, and I always had to bring home the women to you."

"Do you think about it much?"

"Sometimes. Sometimes as much as I can."

Keith told him to take care and gave him a bear hug.

"We’ve been through some shit."

"And we probably haven’t seen the end of it. and now, here I go again. All the way to Gravesend for a Triton, a pint and a shepherds pie."

"You’re mad."


On the way back from dropping Greta at Daniel Smith’s, Estrelica saw Vic on the streets walking as she stopped at a light. He didn’t see her, he just kept walking. Estrelica noticed he looked happy.

Vic saved his bank for the last of his errands and went to find that he had $690.88 to his name, took half, put it in travelers' checks, stuck twenty in his boot and thought about heading back to the 5 Point for a glass of water. He thought of someone who wanted him. He thought of someone who didn’t. He cleared the dragon from his throat and walked on in the dog day sun.


Estrelica & Vic, Chapter 14

...and who knows you?