Black Dress

By: Pointy Objects

"What do you want?"

I should have expected this kind of response. For most of our young lives in each other's presence, the girl before me has been little more than abusive. In our younger years, she found no trouble in embarrassing me in front of our classmates and blaming things on me. Nowadays, she's slightly less irritating, and on the whole, someone I spend more time laughing at, than conspiring against. We both work at the local hospital, she as a nurse's aide, and myself, working in the mailroom, or the offices, doing whatever was needed.

"Nothing. Just saying 'hello'." I told her. Sometimes being civil with her cost me more than butting heads. "So, I'm going to a show tonight."

"I don't care."

"It's at the Cir-"

"I don't care where it is."

"There's this new singer performing. He's-"

"I don't care who's performing. Why are you standing here, talking to me, anyway? Why are you telling me all of this?" she asked, a mixture of confusion and anger on her face. In all honesty, I'm not sure why I was telling her all this. Was this my way of asking her to come with me? Why was I being so bashful all of a sudden? When I presented the conundrum to my grandfather, he made it clear that I need to be direct, otherwise she'd get angry and reject me.

"Well, I know that…" I began, looking around at the nearly empty street where we stood. Few shops were open, it was already nearing seven at night, and the few electric streetlights were coming on, one by one.

"I didn't see you last week at the hospital…because of your grandmother and everything. I just thought, you'd like to…"

"How did you know about my grandmother? I didn't tell anyone about that…" she said, quietly. For the first time in a long time, she didn't sound angry at me. She sounded…well, I don't know what it was supposed to sound like, but it was very different from how I'm accustomed to having her speak to me.

"I saw her at the butcher shop. She said you stayed home to help her when she broke her leg." I said, sitting on an old wooden bench, hoping that she'd join me. She did, a few seconds later, but sat at the other end, her side pressed against the armrest. I noted it as progress, albeit not the progress I necessarily wanted. "How'd she break her leg?"

"She was reenacting the Civil War in our backyard. She's very eccentric. Most of the women in my family are." she explained, actually cracking a smile. It was nice to see a change in her demeanor that was for the better.

"I know what you mean. " Granted, my family members rarely if ever did anything that wild, but, my grandfather had strange was of teaching. One winter, when I decided to do more work than play, he taught me a lesson by throwing a snowball at me. "Well, I was thinking, if you'd like to go, you can."

She looked up and around the sidewalk for a moment. "With you?" she asked, In any other instance, the question would have sounded like an insult; as if the offer would have been accepted readily if it was anyone else on the planet asking her. This time, however, she seemed almost shocked.

I nodded, and she followed suit, allowing a small smile to creep up on her face. We chatted about meeting around the corner from her house, to walk together, and she lamented at having nothing nice to wear. I knew she was lying about that at least; her job at the hospital didn't afford her much money in the way of fancy clothes, but I managed to see her dressed up every once and a while.

I happened to know that, better than the pink of our schoolyard days and the white that she wore everyday to work, I was certain that Gertie looked amazing in black.

Writing a young Phil is just about the hardest thing I've done in along time. It's harder that retroactive continuity from a first person perspective! Hope I did well. And, yes, I did watch the Circle Theatre episode a ton of times. At first I was going to make them high school age, but when you watch it, Grandpa clearly has a mustache and Pookie is a bit too filled out for a high schooler. It's always intrigued me how they went from enemies to liking each other. I couldn't remember an episode where Grandpa talks about any occupation he held during his youth (aside from the WWII war stories from the Veterans Day episode), so I made one up. Feel free to point out if I'm wrong. :D

Thanks for reading!