Eugene’s Genetics – Chapter TWO
The apex of night. Slight creaks of building material but nothing else is begging for awareness. And then it hits.
Geenie barely registers it but knows for sure something is there. She stirs; knowing it isn’t a dream. The seventies era telephone rings. Push button, off which and more like a square or a brick than the newer slimmer rectangles with digital ringers. This behemoth must be there for the reason it is loud and can take abuse – just as it is now. Geenie grapples for the cord and yanks the entire thing onto her bed.
This must not be a normal ritual since much debris went cascading and scattered from her antic. The phone stops ringing and Geenie fumbles for the receiver with her fingers while muttering, “Hello… Hold on. Hold on…” Upending the handle looking receiver “Sorry I’m here. Hello? Mom!”
Geenie bolts to a sitting fashion and tries to wish away the worst. “Mom. What are you calling for, what’s wrong?” It is the most animated and caring she has seemed in a long while.
“Gigi? Are you ok?”
“Mom I’m fine. You called me. What’s wrong there?”
“I’m ok. It’s not me, ok, Gigi?” She spoke in a tired way which was more due to age than slumber issues. A twinge of anxiety remains in her voice.
“Then what is it?”
“Oh. It was Colin’s mother Gertrine. We were speaking and…”
“Oh my gosh mom. What’s wrong?”
“It was Colin. Something happened to him. He died.”
“Ma, that’s awful. I can’t believe it.”
“I know, sweetie. I thought you were still having feelings and I-”
“Mom it’s not like that but. But it’s still horrible.”
“Well do you want to know what happened?”
“Sure mom. Tell me.”
“Well it started out… Gigi I am so sorry I should have called sooner I think. Shouldn’t I have?”
“Ma don’t worry about it. We’re on the phone. We’re awake. Just tell me anything you have to say. You’re absolved, alright?”
“That’s so sweet of you, my little girl.”
“Oh. Well Geenie… You know how Colin’s mother and I got a long time back. I mean we became friends and I wasn’t meddling.”
“It’s ok mom. I know you and Gertrine were all palls-y pals when it was me and Colin.”
“We were doing these activities together at the senior center near me. Not that I want to live there, but the activities are nice…” Geenie listened away without contradicting or acknowledging each sentence. Part of her mind was just freewheeling from the news her mother broke. “Well we would just back and forth while planning the activities to go to or stay away from. All or nothing. And we both just usually use the machines since we hate to answer the phone being we’re both alone and all. But…”
Geenie a series of images bounced through her head; not too much different than when watching an old carousel of slides from a vacation. These images were much darker but didn’t have any of the dust or lint one usually expects from old slides though. These denigrations were more of how blurry or fait the images were. It was funny, but that was pretty much she viewed them. They were not scenes in motion or exactly as they happened in her life. These were still- as two-dimensional diorama version: flat. She didn’t have many of them appear for a set length of time but a flood of each emotion hit all at one. It was like a magazine article having the same twists and turns of emotion, but all compiled into on word; and that word projected all emotions at once straight into her heart.
Geenie could flip back to her mom long enough to know the conversation, then the images took her mind over again.
“…But this time was odd. Because the light was flashing, and when I heard it, there was just a message to call back. Usually she just had an answer like if she was going or not, or who’s car to take. But this time it was to call her back.”
“And that’s when she told you mom?” Geenie quietly asked.
Her mother had a downturn in her emotion also when agreeing, “Yes. She did. I was going to call you right away. But I hesitated. Sorry, dear.”
“It’s ok mom, really.”
“I kept on and on wondering, then I thought maybe I would tell you tomorrow or something. But my conscience was just buzzing and buzzing, so I called.
“I’m glad you called though mom. Please tell Gertrine some condolences from me please?”
“I will. I was planning to send flowers. You know, from the both of us. But I can tell her before that. I’m sure we’ll talk tomorrow.”
“Thanks mom. But I can send something instead from us.”
“It’s ok, Gigi. The florist and I know each other. We have the same beauty operator. She can get them to Gertrine within the day.”
“Sure thing mom.”
“Gigi?” She asked with a strange pronunciation.
“What is it, ma?
“You know Colin. It’s- You were the one for him, you know?”
“Ma, I don’t want to get into that whole thing before. We had this conversation.”
“I know we did. But,” she sighed. “However, he never went looking for anyone else.”
“Neither did I mom. You can’t say I have been looking for anything lately.”
“Be that as it may. Oh I don’t know, maybe I’m just being sentimental. Gertrine just kept going on about it here and there after she told me the news.”
“You and I both know the way she saw things was obviously a great deal different than most folks.”
“I know, Gigi. But if you speak with her, and if it comes up… You know.”
“I know mom, but it’s sweet of you.”
“I really don’t know what she’s going to do without-”
“Ma,” Geenie butts in. “She’s always had you. And as truth goes, there was really nothing that much different if we were married or not. We were both in her lives anyway. It works out all the same you know?”
“Things are. They’re just hard to explain.”
“Yes I know that much. It’s a different time nowadays with complex things and relationships.”
“I am sorry, I am I was… Well I wasn’t trying to put you down but maybe there wasn’t so much to courting when I was young. Or I just didn’t know.”
“I think you’re rambling because you’re tired.”
I might. It could be. I feel much better since we talked.”
The halfway grin from her mother could almost be felt through the phone due to its inflection.
“Am I just being silly?”
“No mom. You’re… You’re sentimental. You always get like that when someone’s departed. I hope you didn’t already hunt down that old scrapbook in the closest.”
Geenie hears a sad laugh come through the phone. “You still know me, don’t you? It would have-”
“You know what mom?” Geenie successfully cuts her off. “I think there is still some old pictures, or even an album. I kept it there during that period of moving all around. You know?”
“You still cared for each other didn’t you?”
“Yeah I guess so. And we both cared about you two. Important enough. I guess if they aren’t there, then we know the real answer though, right ma?”
She laughs out, “I suppose so.”
“I’ll talk to Mrs. Rust tomorrow even to find out.”
“She will think that is so nice.”
“Just don’t tell Gertrine, ok?”
“Ok, I know. Let it be a surprise, right?”
“Yeah. I would hate for her to say something and then I’m holed up at work or something.”
“You’re going to work tomorrow?”
“Yes, mom. I kind of have to. But we’ll see when I can get out. Maybe there’ll be enough time to see you too.”
“Don’t worry about me please, Gigi,” she says in a sincere tone. “Just see her in her time of need.
She will tell it all again to me anyway, right? Whatever you are up to and all of that.”
“It’s not all that much really ma.”
“It’s still very sweet of you, don’t you know it.” She kept going on and on, but Geenie didn’t mind at all. At this point it was almost a light solace; interrupting her thoughts.