So on the evening of Bry's last day of Grade 9, Friday June 19th, we are going back to the Inn. I've known this for months. I'm really excited about it. But every time I look over at that date on the calendar, I feel a twinge in the pit of my stomach. I get reminded it's still a month away, and as awesome as it's going to be to stand 6' tall and grow facial hair again, there are still things going on in Anne-Marie's life that require my attention.
Hayley's cold lasted longer than we thought. She seemed well enough to come along to the zoo last weekend but it flared up again afterward. Then I realized it wasn't a cold at all, but allergies. So I had to take her to be tested, and then convince her it wasn't so bad to get shots, which was a difficult conversation. Then on top of all that stress I had to swing by the drug store for some Midol, because, well, goddamn.
It was there, while Hayley was off browsing the magazine rack, that I ran into Donna. Every so often I remember the last major conversation I had with her and it gets me mad, so you can imagine how I was feeling on this occasion. She started browsing the menstrual aids as well. I was hoping to ignore her when she struck up a conversation.
"Menopause can't come soon enough," she says.
I glared at her. She looked over and smirked at me. I grumbled, "I won't be around for it, thankfully."
She snorts, "How could I forget? After the scene you made at my place. You've made it quite clear you mean to go back wherever you came from. Kansas?"
"Canada. Is there something you want from me?"
She reminds me about her offer. "I don't know why you hate me, Anne-Marie. I don't know why you avoid me and why I have to stalk you in the drug store just to have a chat. We have something in common, we just don't have the same opinion about it."
"Why don't you just tell me who you were?" I ask.
"Why do you care? Why does it matter?"
I didn't even have an answer for that. I just assumed it was quid pro quo when I told her my story.
She came in closer and gave me something of a death glare. "When you came back, and I realized what you were... it brought up so much emotion. So much guilt. You have no idea. For the first time in decades I feel like I'm lying about who I am. And I don't like that." Just like a woman, making me feel like the bad guy. "But what's done is done, and if you want to know, you know what to give me in return."
I told her I remembered. She wanted sex. I excused myself to the checkout and asked Hayley if she'd rather I buy her a Motorcycle Mag or Guns & Ammo. She laughed and handed me a copy of InTouch.
Every time I talk to Donna it really gets my nerves up. She has a real attitude about her past that is troubling for me and only makes me want to know more about her, which of course comes with a premium. I'm wondering whether I really have to do this, to wrap up the question of Donna's identity once and for all.
Of course, some mysteries are easier to solve...
Last Sunday, when I was at "Julia's" place, I was there to do more than deliver a simple Happy Mother's Day message. I had a hunch I wanted to follow up. I didn't want to talk about it until it was resolved, but I might as well bring it up to clear my mind.
Sometime ago Anne-Marie and Ellie admitted they really hadn't been in touch with the original Julia and Kalli. I found this troubling because in arranging all these return trips, I feel it would be awesome if everything could just be wrapped up nicely. Unfortunately, the only info they could provide was the last name "Johnson" and a mention of Washington State. Apparently they just didn't see fit to include all this info in their original letters. I figured it was one of two things. Either it didn't occur to them to provide this in the event a return was possible, or they didn't want a return at all. The paranoid dude in me was thinking the latter.
That said, my hunch was this: if Julia and Kalli wanted to come back, they probably would have e-mailed Anne and/or Ellie at some point. Maybe. It's been almost a year, though, and if nothing had turned up in the Inbox yet, chances are it wasn't going to.
So when I hopped on "Julia's" computer and checked her Spam folder, I damn near shouted out "Eureka!" Sitting right on the cusp of the 30-day deletion cycle was an early-April message from Ken Johnson.
The writer, the original Julia, basically went on a tirade about how mad she was none of the previous e-mails had been responded to, but that didn't mean she was going to give up. That even if there was no way back, she still felt she was owed some acknowledgment that her life was in good hands. (My summary, not her words exactly.)
I noted down her e-mail address and headed home, trying to mentally draft a response. After a couple days I had it all written out.
I explained who I was, and why none of "Ken's" letters had reached "Julia." I told her she didn't have to worry about her body's status, she was safe and gainfully employed in Connecticut. The good news, I said, is that changing back is possible, all you need to do is be in Maine at the right time in the right room. I said I hoped to hear back from her soon, and gave the address to the Blog.
I have yet to get a response, but I will let you know when I've got it, if I feel comfortable doing so. Hopefully, we can get these people into the proper room, but one step at a time...
That's all for tonight.