Tuesday, May 16, 2017

3 - Geraldine

Geraldine was standing behind Bartholomew at an ATM machine. She saw him remove quite a bit of money from the machine and stuff it into the pocket of his plaid shorts. She decided she wanted to know him better. She followed Bartholomew to a nearby restaurant with tables and chairs on the sidewalk and live music wafting from inside. She sat down at the same table with him.

Hello,” said Geraldine, “How are you today?”

Oh…hello,” said Bartholomew, a little shocked to see that someone had sat at the table with him.

Do you mind if I eat with you? You just look so interesting and kind, I thought it would be sorta nice to share some food.” Geraldine said this while blushing a little and batting her eyes.

Now, with most women, being so forward as to sit at a table with a stranger would not be necessary to get a man’s attention. But Geraldine was the most unattractive young woman in the whole city and had become accustomed to being quite forward with men she wanted to get to know.

Bartholomew did not answer right away. He wasn’t sure about eating food with Geraldine. Bartholomew was turned off. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the numerous large pimples on her face, the cavernous nostrils of her upturned nose with whatever was in them plainly visible to the world (and today there was quite a lot to see), the crooked discolored teeth, the huge yellow eyes or the dirty bushy hair that looked like it would jump off her head if it wasn’t attached. Maybe it was the words of the song coming from the restaurant, “…life ain’t worth living if you’re living for mistakes, it ain’t worth living at all…” Or maybe it was the strange, low-level feeling inside that she was not here to be kind to him. But, Bartholomew, being a polite and kind young man, couldn’t see a good reason to say no, so he said “Yes, well, I would enjoy your company.”

When the food arrived, (Bartholomew ordered organic creamed corn, avocado salad and lingonberry juice) Geraldine leaned in toward Bartholomew and said:

You really are nice looking. I mean you are attractive, but you also look like someone who is nice to people.”

Bartholomew blushed a little. He was not used to young women telling him he was attractive. But he had to agree that he was kind to people. It was one of Bartholomew’s strengths that he always tried to be polite and kind.

Thank you,” he said, “you are so kind to say so.”

Well,” responded Geraldine, “I am as kind as I am pretty.” She spread her lips into a wide smile that engulfed her face and showed even more crooked teeth. She also let out what was meant to be a cute little giggle, which sounded more like a snort that ended with an odd nausea-inducing gurgle.

They spent the next half-hour eating and in a conversation that can be best described as awkward, inconsistent and uncomfortable. Each time Bartholomew began to talk, especially the times when he would begin to share something about himself, Geraldine would interrupt him with a story or comment of her own. But, at the beginning or the end of each comment or story, Geraldine would compliment Bartholomew. In this manner, like an unaware frog slowly being boiled to death, Bartholomew fell in love.

By the end of the meal Bartholomew was so happy to have found someone who saw the best in him that he didn’t even notice when Geraldine let him pay for her raw hamburger and limp, greasy fries. _______________________________________________________
Written by Mark Granlund
Illustrations by Mark Granlund

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