It was the last outing with her friends before the big event. “George,” she called over, “do you… do you think I’m doing the right thing?” Funny how her best friend Debbie also married a George. Were they happy? Let’s just say there was always room to slide between the two. Like here.
“I don’t know, Shelley, sounds like a Debbie question.”
Yeah, right, Debbie thinks.
“But you’re a man. You know The Musician pretty well by now.” George again wondered why they always called him that. He plays an okay guitar, specializing in Lennon and Lydon, but he’s not a professional by any means. Instead he’s a cookie cutter at the local bakery. Why not Baker, then? Odd thought, he realizes.
“He loves you and that’s all I know.” George Smithson rattles his paper, a sign that he was eager to get back to it. Debbie was absorbed in her phone, checking the latest bets on the local dogs. One named Red Spider is 10:1 odds to beat another called Arrow. She might place a bet on that one for a particular reason we can’t quite reveal yet — perhaps never will admittedly.
Only Shelley is left without distracting entertainment right now. So she looks around the Real World, sees a woman selling flowers down the way, sees a fisherman standing behind her who had just pulled his boat into the docks, perhaps contemplating buying a rose for his sweetie who he left behind when heading to sea, maybe hours ago but maybe weeks, years even.
She sees a woman taking a selfie with her dog while a fish flops wildly on the back of the tricycle in front of her.
And then, further down the docks, birds flocking to a man reading a newspaper for some reason. Perhaps he just fed them in a pause in his reading. She wonders if he’s reading the same paper as George here, and then why George never seems to go out of his way to feed birds or really care about anything in the world at large, including his wife of course foremost of all. Does George — her George — care about me? she wonders once again. Will our marriage quickly — *devolve* to this?
She decides to test this George. “Looks like that nice man down the docks just fed those pigeons.”
George glances over. “Doves,” he says. “They’re doves, Shelley,” then back to the reading.
“Still, it’s a nice gesture.”
George doesn’t say anything to this. He’s checking the stock market. Maybe he’ll buy into this company called Red Arrow coming up fast, a crypto-currency organization specializing in tax evasion. Eew, a spider suddenly walks across the figures! He quickly swats it away in one motion.
Shelley looks from one to the other, having her answer. She needs to talk to her dad, maybe her mom and dad together, about this whole *arrangement*. She plots how to get out from between them asap. “Guys, I think I’ll go back to the motel. My stomach’s feeling a little queazy.”
“It’s those grapes,” Debbie says to her, placing the bet.
“Yeah, the grapes for sure,” agrees George, hitting the buy button on the screen.
“Grapes,” mutters Shelley. Where have I heard this before? she thinks.