Fandom: Fried Green Tomatoes (book)
Disclaimer: Not mine
Summary: Only Eva knew how bad Idgie got after Ruth left to go back to Georgia.
Only Eva knew how bad Idgie got after Ruth left to go back to Georgia. Sure, the whole town had heard about Ms. Ruth Jamison returning to marry a nice man and how Idgie Threadgoode had once again disappeared off into the woods. The townsfolk knew there was something brewing between the pretty church girl and the rough-and-tumble tomboy. The line of gossip in Whistlestop, Alabama was legendary. So, when it got passed along that Idgie could be heard shouting the day before Ruth left and didn't show up at the train station with the rest of the family, everyone knew something had happened. Especially when they looked at Ruth. The poor girl was doing her best to keep a polite look on her face for all the people who were there to say goodbye, but only a fool could miss the tears and heartache in her eyes.
The Threadgoodes knew a bit better. Nearly the whole family had heard the confrontation between Ruth and Idgie right before Ruth left to go back home. The way Idgie had sounded like a wounded animal as she broke things and cried out how she loved Ruth and Ruth loved her back so she should stay there with her still rang throughout their ears at night. Momma and Poppa had tried to get Ruth to stay. They knew their child well. Buddy's death had been hard on her, and losing Ruth would be even worse. Ruth had to go back, though. All of the family knew the moment Ruth stepped out of Whistlestop Idgie would be gone again. She'd go back into the woods where she'd roam about like some creature and they'd barely see her. They all knew how the two felt about each other. It was plain as day whenever either were together. Sipsey was right when she said the love bug done bit Idgie, but that same love bug got Ruth as well.
Eva, though, she saw Idgie after Ruth left, and that was what made all the difference. She might not have seen Ruth and Idgie when they were practically attached at the hip, but she saw the aftermath. Idgie had walked into the River Club and started drinking and telling stories like she hadn't been gone from there for a time. She'd quickly made a bunch of friends and was the life of the party. But, Eva kept an eye on the younger girl. She'd grown to care for her ever since Buddy would bring her along when he would come to visit. She missed Buddy terribly and was happy to see his sister again. Idgie took after her brother in charm and wit all right.
There was something wrong, though. Idgie kept drinking, and she kept telling stories and being as fun-loving as could be. But, there was a gleam in her eyes. Eva tried to find out, but Idgie just kept on with it. That is, until a sad old love song came on the jukebox. Idgie just broke into tears, and Eva instantly knew what was wrong. She might not know the specifics, but after losing Buddy, she knew what a shattered heart looked like. She vowed to help her friend the only way she knew how. Eva might not be the smartest gal in Alabama, but she knew a thing or two about loving and comforting. So, she took Idgie back to her cabin and made her feel a bit better, even if it was for only a little while.
After that night, Idgie would stay on and off with Eva. They grew closer, becoming a sort of lifeline for the other. Eva still loved Buddy and always would, and Idgie was someone she could talk to about the boy. Not to mention, with Idgie being so much like her brother, it was a comfort having her around. It was almost like having Buddy back around, telling jokes and grinning that devilish grin. For Idgie, she could be as brokenhearted as possible, and Eva knew how to make her forget about Ruth for a few days.
Eva soon learned the story of Ruth. When Idgie got enough beer in her to knock a sailor off his feet, which was quite often, she'd ramble on about the girl who stole her heart and ran off to be with some bastard in Georgia. Swaying back and forth, Idgie would go on and on about how she loved Ruth, and Ruth loved her back, but she left her and there was nothing she could do about it. She tried to make her stay, but Ruth left anyway. Eva listened and did the best she could to help.
It was obvious Idgie was head over heels for this Ruth. Knowing how short life could be, Eva encouraged Idgie to go see her. She knew Idgie had been keeping an eye on Ruth, driving over to Georgia a few times to ask around about this man Frank Bennett and how his wife was doing. She knew Idgie had driven over there for the wedding and came back drunker than she'd ever seen her. With that in mind, she told Idgie to go to Ruth. Tell her how she felt and see what happened. It wasn't like Idgie could stay away from her anyways, so she might as well do something. Idgie did go, and when she got back she was just as brokenhearted as the first time she set foot down by the river.
After that, Eva kept watch over Idgie. She made sure she got some food in her and didn't get herself killed. Idgie wasn't always at the river, sometimes running off to who knows where, but when she was, Eva was there for her. No one else saw when Idgie was drunk enough to not know what side was up and sitting in the corner of the cabin bawling her eyes out because she'd remembered it was Ruth's birthday. Eva was the only one who sat there as Idgie sat drinking whiskey and crying as some sad song played on the jukebox. No one in town knew that Idgie went to Georgia so many times, and the Threadgoodes definitely didn't know when Idgie came back after learning Frank beat Ruth, ready to kill the sonofabitch. Eva had stopped her from doing so and made her promise, but both knew the promise was a lie. Idgie'd get hurt if she went after a grown man like Frank, but Idgie was the type to fly in with her fists bared if it meant saving the woman she loved.
Eva was there for all of it, and she could only breathe a sigh of relief when she found out Idgie had gotten a letter from Ruth and brought her back home. Idgie showed up less and less, and to be truthful, it hurt. Idgie was her only real friend, and the only link she had left to Buddy. So, when the blonde did appear, Eva made sure to give her what she wanted – usually a bunch of Pabst Blue Ribbon – and spent some time talking and dancing with her instead of the men she normally flaunted with. She heard that Ruth wasn't too keen on Idgie going to spend time with her, and she could understand. No one's wife or girlfriend liked their partners being at the club or near Eva. But, she didn't tell Idgie to stop coming. Nothing more than a hug and a kiss on the cheek went on between her and Idgie ever since Ruth came back, and nothing ever would. Eva knew Idgie loved the girl, and she respected that. Hell, she even told Idgie what to do when Ruth left her that one time because Idgie had done something stupid. She wanted those two kids to work it out. They belonged together.
She was the only one who knew how bad Idgie got those years Ruth was gone.
But, she also knew she needed that link she had to Buddy. The men helped to dull the ache, but Idgie was the only one who could grin like Buddy and crack a joke as good as he could. Besides, if she didn't talk to Idgie, who else would type up a letter to Ruth to help get their reunion started after Idgie's lie or let Idgie play with her three-legged dog to teach her son a lesson?
Eva Bates might not know much, but she knew about love. Ruth and Idgie – those two were in love.
She was damn well going to make sure her friend got to enjoy it. One of them should.