Saturday, May 26, 2007

Arthur/Penelope: No time to get used to it.

People were looking for answers all day yesterday. I wish I'd had more to give them, but I wanted certain ones myself. It looks like I won't get those until I actually track Jeremy down and choke them out of him.

The last thirty-six hours or so were just crazy, though. I didn't sleep at all Wednesday night, waiting to see who I'd become and then reacting to it, and then it seemed as though everyone needed their hand held at some point during the day, and I was elected. I've been writing little bits of this for the past two days and haven't had a chance to post it until finding some Wi-Fi at the SF airport while waiting for a cab to take me "home".

I guess it was sort of logical that people would look to me; there were four of us who had been through this process before, and one slipped out early in the morning, probably returning to his life without much fanfare. That left Jeff, who despite having actually managed to get what he wanted out of the Inn this time, is a 19-year-old kid, and Drew was giving the new person who looked like him (henceforth "new-Drew") a lot of one-on-one time. That left me as the sole person available who wasn't panicking and looked like she might be somehow authoritative. It's weird; I don't look that much older than I did as Liz, but the extra bulk and height seem to make up for it and then some. I haven't had time to measure myself yet, but I've got to be pretty close to six feet tall. I suspect most people were operating on the instinct that the tall woman who stays calm is mommy, and mommy knows everything.

I don't know everything, obviously, but I was able to at least impart what we had discovered: That the changes that the Inn had made to us could be reversed by its own mechanism, but you had to be careful - it seems to work by proximity to where the last person was, not assigned room, and you would have to co-ordinate with the person who would become you sometime in the next week - and as you can see, that's not always reliable.

I must have said that two dozen times yesterday, which is remarkable since there were only thirteen people changed. I won't get into details on everyone, just that it looks like this Paul Miller guy apparently wasn't full of shit like we initially expected; there are folks running around with IDs that say Paul Miller and Ivumi Saito. Also? Dealing with the airlines is a pain in the neck. Drew/R.J. and I got pretty darn hosed buying tickets to get out to SF; we paid through the nose and got charged for the tickets they hadn't used two weeks ago besides. At least we didn't have to deal with a rental car - R.J. had dropped that off at the Portland Jetport; some people here are dealing with two weeks of rental fees for a car that had just been sitting in the parking lot.

With yesterday mostly devoted to other people, that made today the first day of the rest of my life, I guess. It was a beautiful day, at least - the sun was shining when I woke up at ten o'clock and the weather report was saying it might hit ninety degrees, so I put a bikini on under my t-shirt and shorts just in case I wanted to do some beach stuff before leaving Old Orchard Beach. I spent the next hour writing a letter to Liz - fortunately, there's not much to tell in this situation; she knows everyone she's going to meet back in Boston. I also sent a couple text messages while I still had Liz's phone. Then Jeff, Drew, new-Drew and I went to the Oceanside Lodge to sign out.

I should have mentioned this last year, but either the people there know something but keep it under their hats or the thing which keeps people from believing us covers them, too. I suppose I could get away with signing "Elizabeth Lee", but Drew as he is now signing something "Daphne" is a stretch. But they look at it and react normally, and they acted just like everybody else when new-Drew tried to say who he really was: "Yeah, right" followed by them acting like he hadn't just said something strange.

Just as we were walking away from the counter, a stylish young woman entered and asked if she could pick up her keys for the Trading Post. The man at the counter said that check-in time was three o'clock; the woman said she'd wait and took a seat in the lobby. I looked at her over my shoulder, and after we were a few steps away I said that might be Liz.

None of them believed it, and I said they were probably right. She looked kind of like how Lyn described Liz/Marie, but what were the odds? Jeff said I might want to go in and talk to her, just in case.

"Are you kidding? What would seeing me like this do other than make her feel guilty. Might as well let her just get back to her life."

Jeff and new-Drew parted ways from us then; they wanted to get on the 1:05 train to Boston because they'd managed to find a 4:30 flight to Detroit. That left us with a couple hours to kill, so we went back to the beach.

By a stroke of luck, we found the same two guys we'd seen two days ago. They didn't recognize us, of course, but were still looking for a game. Their eyes widened when I doffed my clothes and they saw the AVP logo on my suit, joking that they were glad they hadn't decided to put money on the game.

Not that they would have done badly. I may have inherited Penelope Lincoln's physique, but not any sort of talent as a volleyball player. Barring Wednesday, I hadn't played in a while, and my reactions were all off from the new body anyway. I backed into Drew several times because I expected my strides to be a foot shorter and didn't know my own strength while serving.

Being able to jump up and spike the ball hard into the ground is awesome, though. Even if I missed half the time, I never got tired of it.

Eventually, Drew said we were going to cut the train close and we shook the hands of our new friends and congratulated them on a good game before getting on the train and heading back to Boston.

We got into Boston right on time at 5:30, thinking it might be tight making our flight. Still, I spent a couple minutes looking around the station before I saw who I was looking for. "Lyn! Over here!"

I guess she's not used to responding to that nickname, especially from a strange voice; she didn't look my way at all. I let my long legs carry me across the crowded area and tapped her on the shoulder. That made her look at me. "Do I know you?"

I was expecting that. "Yeah, you do. It's me. Arthur."

She had the look for a second - the look that says this is impossible - but she fought it off and gave me a hug. "I'm sorry," she said, "I've been reading the blog and should have recognized you. And I'm sorry that you're not yourself again, or at least R.J."

"Hey," I said, "don't worry about it. I'll live."

"Good. My god, you're so tall. I think you might be taller than my boyfriend."

"And would you believe she's got heels in her suitcase??"

Lyn laughed at that before asking if she could treat us to dinner. I told her I didn't have time, that our flight left at 6:40, but I just wanted her to know what I looked like now, and make sure she believed me. She thanked me for that and said she wouldn't keep me. I leaned over to give her another hug.

I hope I didn't make her cry again - saying goodbye twice is kind of mean, but it's important that she believe in me. You can't take anything for granted in our lives.



Scott said...

I guess this leaves one person unaccounted for...

Anonymous said...

There is someone who knows about the blog, but hasn't started posting here yet.

Paul Miller