Monday, August 28, 2006

Avoiding Jane Gould

Four and a half months has passed and it's still hard to be out in my neighborhood because there are always 'the loose end people' - The ones who still don't know that Jimmy has died. (see post "Is That My Husband In The Bag?") I'm never quite sure if they know or not.

Sometimes, I can tell they know. I watch them spot me and pretend they didn't, although this might also mean they owe me and Jimmy money. If they ask me 'How'd your summer go?'it's a pretty good bet they haven't heard. I've considered answering, "Fine" and walk away fast. Hard to do because if they ever find out they'll think I'm a lunatic.

These loose end people have no connection to me or anyone who I'm connected to. Unless they read the obituary - how would they find out? A perfect example of an unconnected person is Jane Gould, the mom who stood next to me several times a week on the soccer field. Let's see - my son is 25 now and he played soccer at ten, maybe twelve...so we're going back more than a decade.

Jane and I had a good cordial not quite friendship. We'd complain how windy and freezing it was and sometimes sneak off to watch the game from a nice heated car. We'd laugh together and say that we were so cold we wished our sons were gay so they wouldn't be into sports. We never became friends. The boys stopped playing soccer and that was that.

Today I saw her. Actually, first I heard her. Voices are so recognizable and unmistakable. We can picture someone clearly in our head, down to minute features, but their voice is impossible to recall...at least, for me it is until I hear it.

This is why several times a week, sometimes several times a day I call Jimmy's cell phone to hear 'Jim Scibelli.' He's alive for me for those two seconds. It only lingers in my head for another few seconds and then I sort of remember his tone, but then, I can't hear it anymore.

So, this afternoon I was sitting in my beauty shop with color on my head. I had my reading glasses on and I was looking down at the book opened on my lap. The voice was unmistakable Jane Gould. Like I said, it's been easily ten years since I heard her, but if there was such a thing as a 'police voice line up' there's no doubt I could pick her out from it.

Her daughter was there, also waiting for her color to take and Jane came in to say hello. Jane stood right in front of me talking to Deborah...yes...she just called her Deborah...that was her daughter sitting there near me all along. She had another daughter, Lisa and David was her son, the soccer player. It all rushed back.

Her husband was Myron and they lived on a street named Byron. We all called him 'Myron from Byron.' From the conversation it didn't sound like they still lived there. Who could blame them? There's just so much taunting you can take. If I lived on Barrel Street I'd probably move, too.

Then I wondered if Myron was alive. Like a thief I moved my head up to check for a ring. There it was. For an awful moment I was disappointed. Why is everyone else still here? It's like Jimmy was plucked.

I felt like I was hiding from the cops or a stow-away. I kept my head down and stared at my feet. My feet were really really close to her feet and I couldn't help but notice she had great sandals on. They went between the toes but also had a back. I need a sandal with a back and they're not easy to find.

Part of me wanted to ask her where she got them. I felt my body so crunched up it reminded me that I was hiding so I'd just have to do without the sandals. It's the end of the season, anyway.

Ding! The bell rang. Someone was ready. Thank God it was Deborah called to the sink. Jane followed her. They were still in hearing distance and leave it to Amy, my colorist to pick that time get chatty. She stood several feet from me blabbing away and I panicked replying in rushed hand signals and ridiculous facial expressions.

I just couldn't take the chance that Jane would hear my voice. She never did. The coast was clear. They left the shop. When I got home I looked in the mirror. I thought I'd feel good. Freshly colored and blown out hair has always perked me up.

Instead, I started to cry.