“Yeah, just try to relax back there, the pilot said while twisting his head- even though he can’t make eye contact with his passenger. “It looks like you were already up for a long time.”
“And I thought I was having a good hair day,” Jack almost yelled. All tone stripped but it was obvious the two of them held no ill will towards one another. If blood between them was the slightest of spoiled, how could Jack have pulled off some strange late night aeronautic feat such as this. Jack wondered for a moment if these planes he rode in were usually so noisy or if it was just something he selectively forgot. With a nod, he looked behind himself and saw their passenger. Making a careful leaning motion, jack settled into his seat.
Geenie was so out of it, she didn’t know what to make of things. It was not her fault. She was probably so sleepy at this point, she wouldn’t care if Jack was a foe or the actual friend he was slightly shaping himself into. He already seemed to be more than a little bit heroic. Answering the call of duty certainly seemed to fit Jack Robinson to a certain extent. He certainly doesn’t seem the type however; then or even now.
Things like this were too complex of thoughts right now, but they ran through her head at various times. She didn’t know who to even choose as an alternate at this point. If Jack wasn’t a “good guy” as kids say when speaking about a protagonist in a cartoon, then what exactly was he? A part of Geenie really didn’t want to know.
On one hand, Jack Robinson has been in the thick of many things. Many encounters and conversations, and this was just in a single day more or less. If Geenie was in full alert and not just so incredibly exhausted from the events, she might not have been so curious about Jack – at least in the “good guy” sense. In fact, Jack so far seemed to be the entire catalyst in one way of looking at things.
Maybe Geenie would have been much less confused or mentally fatigued if she just skipped the shiva altogether. She might have gotten an ear full by her mom at some point, but she certainly wouldn’t have been so mentally fatigued. There’s a possibility Jack could be the culprit, but there might not be any reason for him to be hanging around otherwise.
Colin’s house still might have been raided, but Geenie wouldn’t have been caught in the fray of it and not have to imagine what went on inside. Maybe if Jack wasn’t so nice, he wouldn’t have cared if Geenie saw anything. But then again, maybe she was supposed to just run away in case those other guys did end up besting Jack (which was a 99% possibility) and chased after her. At the same rate, what if the people still went to Geenie’s house; or worse yet, her mother’s home? Then what would have happened? It might not have been the two men defeated inside of Colin’s house but Geenie and her mom in that position instead.
All of this was beyond Geenie’s mind to process. She was in the state of practically dreaming with her eyes open. Such a relaxed state might only be achieved by means of anesthesiologist. But here she was on a plane and not a worry or a care to ponder. She was blank. She tried to look conscious, but was failing miserably.
Jack tried give a random reaction to Geenie. His eyes got slightly wider as his forehead wrinkled a slight bit and he exhaled. Maybe it was a way to communicate without words, or just the onset of nervousness being in a plane such as this. The seats looked to be a comfortable leather or simulated equivalent – seating four in two sets facing in their tan ’80s glory.
Pulling on the strap of his duffle bag, Jack revealed he forgot to zip it. For whatever reason, Geenie finally gave a reaction. Her eyes went down to something resembling a faded folder. Maybe the color is what drew her eyes down. Or having a good idea she knew that was suspiciously similar to what Jack pulled from the home of Geenie’s mom.
“What is it?”
“Huh,” Jack leaned in since there was no letting up in the noisiness and increased rattling of the aircraft. He did his best not to sound like he was shouting. As socially unacceptable as it might have seemed, Robinson edged his ear almost into Geenie’s lips.
Her voice was faltering as she tried to talk. Her head swayed a bit while she tried to remember what she just said a moment ago. Fatigue obviously set in once more. “What is it you found?” It was a good thing Jack was so close since she barely talked above a normal sound level.
Once again, Jack leaned. He hoped to get close enough to her to keep from jolting her awake from his voice trying to raise above the ever increasing rumblings. He was almost out of his seat by the time he reached his mouth towards her ear. If they swayed any more, she might not have believe his closing in was holding pure intentions. “It’s-”
A thud overtook the two of them. Jack was too busy trying to cater to Geenie; forgetting to stay aware of his surroundings. He slid off his seat and fell sideways – landing in the narrow legroom between the couch-like, pillowy plane chairs. He had no other option but look back up towards Geenie, who tried looking away and halfheartedly covered her mouth to chuckle.
Jack hesitated; staying in the position of a sore bottom and resting with his elbows under him. Without realizing it, the plane was more ambitious about leaving the runway than Jack expected. The flaps made a loud noise, and suddenly only one of them was sitting comfortably.
He played it off a little bit, not irritated but just feeling silly. On the bright side, this was the one time in Jack’s day where he could fall over and not have it lead to a fatal conclusion. He pulled his arms free and tried to place one hand on each section of the seats to raise himself up. It didn’t work. Of course Geenie had no problem watching this feeble attempt.
Finally, Jack had to roll onto his knees and slowly pull himself into the chair he was sitting in moments earlier. He practically collapsed into it and couldn’t believe just how worn out his body suddenly became.
When he finally felt a moment of accomplishment, a click came in overhead on a reverberating speaker.
“Don’t forget to buckle up.”
Geenie burst out in a tired fit of laughter. Any other time it probably would have been much more audible, but her voice could barely carry a whisper by this point. It was very possible the sight she witnessed wasn’t even as funny as it seemed to her, but a slight bit of delirium has set in. In her almost comatose sleepy state, she felt there was nothing funnier that could have happened. At the same time, maybe this was the burst of humor she needed – due to the seriousness of everything else which happened. Geenie probably couldn’t even remember when it was the last time she laughed. It was certainly before getting the news about Colin from her mom. And she didn’t know at all.
Maybe if she searched really hard it was some sort of a chuckle provided by the conversation she had with Coleen. It seemed so far ago. It could have been a month even with the tumultuous series of events Geenie still never had a proper moment to dwell on. Grief, loss, anger, friendship and…. Whatever it can be called which Geenie had between her and Jack. Platonic wasn’t quite right, and neither was friend. Maybe even acquaintance was improper since she didn’t feel she could have known him long enough for such a title. He’s simply a guy. A guy who is still practically a stranger to her; and… Well, she already spent the night with him once from a linear sort of thought. Two nights including now. Two nights of sleeping with him.
Sure, it was slightly juvenile to think of things that way, but it was a literal interpretation. Playground physics maybe it could be called. If someone was a boy and a friend, it was a girlfriend in the youngsters and whoever had a friend of the opposite sex was automatically cringing when the friends in the schoolyard found out. Sometimes recess could be so intimidating.
In all truth, maybe Geenie did feel this way since she really had nothing to be called mind expanding in her life. She lived a rather mundane or boring life, but it never really occurred to her. After a night like these recent ones, it’s doubtful she even had regret of living a nine to five type of world. Geenie was an insulated person, and she never noticed – meaning it suited her just fine indeed.
Perhaps this is the same reason she had such an odd reaction to Colin’s news: from an outsider’s point of view. Colin was still a friend of hers despite any romantic status, but things just… Even Geenie wouldn’t have a perfect phrase to explain it.
Many people have the sort of sweethearts kind of story. Knowing one another, getting more cozy as years went on. But things didn’t work that same way between the two of them. He must have seen something in Geenie, or else he never would have even hoped for a second date; or first one in fact. Maybe neither was really enamored with the other person, but it was comfortable at the time. Sometimes comfort can go a long way past romance; for what it’s worth.
It was college when the two of them started spending time. Both of them went the “low rent” route and settled for something close by and near the familiar. Both did have a stake in family, which was at least one thing in common. Maybe it was the respective mothers who were more in love with the concept of Geenie having a romance with Colin. Silly as it sounds, stranger things have happened.
Both of these mothers seemed to already know each other well enough. As time went on the friendship or even acquaintanceship aspect just blurred until the reason they were close wasn’t sure. They were like the oldest of friends in their own right. If a casual person noticed these women walking down the street or having lunch in an out of the shop, it would be assumed these females were perhaps old school chums.
These mothers both loved the fact their only children were close to their roots – or at least looking after their moms or being close in that casual way of phone calls and idle tokens of affection. Naturally these two women loved the fact their respective kid also had the same attention to family. It seems a bit silly but often families have clashes all because one side of a marriage has a differing opinion of family and attention versus the other. Since Colin and Geenie seemed to both understand the importance of family, their mothers were basically sold. Plus in a strange way it seems these women would have enjoyed having a bond closer than friends, even if it was more via the eyes of a piece of paper or the surname of “in law”.
The “happy couple” were more complacent it seemed. They did spend time in college and bumped into each other. They both knew the other from their former schools, but the love at first sight bug never seemed to have been biting that day. Instead they just went out. The literal sense that is. They went out here or went out there, not to dwell on the fact it was opposite sexes congregating: usually getting named “a date”.
Maybe the women read into it even more than Colin or Geenie had. They both had different classes for the most part in college, even though their degrees were nothing unique. At least they put their years in and graduated. Even the most successful people dwell on the fact they may not have finished college with a piece of paper, but they had all that cash to show for it instead. Most people wished for the lambskin as well. Even taking a survey, the education question pops up. Anyone with scruples has to answer somewhat honestly. Admitting “did not graduate” or “high school” can still have a pang of an opportunity lost out on.
Colin and Geenie did not have this problem at all. They never really thought of it. At the same time, maybe they didn’t think of it since they never had the nagging feeling of unfinished business in that aspect.
On the subject of unfinished business comes the moms of this couple again. They may be the ones thinking some sort of business had been finalized; which was of course some form of matrimony.
There was no issue at all with the relationship aspect. Most likely everyone else was reading into something which was either not there, or needed much more time to foster. In college they both had roommates that fizzled out at some point on their bargain. These two were never thrilled about the fact of living with someone more by chance than by want. They hung out and never really had much along the lines of a circle of friends. Perhaps that was a major reason they ended up together so often. It started as a joke and then it evolved little by little. Eventually Colin and Geenie ended up living in one apartment even though they still had respective roomies to deal with. Well, not quite.
The problem was the fact their previous roommates left each holding the bag. Both of their mothers didn’t want a co lease or something like that – the mothers thought alike in that way. For Colin’s mom it was more about the lines of ownership to have a reputation to build up: whether credit or just getting a better recommendation to get a nicer place one day. For Geenie, her mom wanted it in the name in case there was some major altercation. In that case, Geenie can boot out the offending person (at least in her mind). Nevertheless, these people who were thrown in to pay half the rent were able to disappear scott free. Perhaps not the best plan in the long run, but it’s what happened.
One night both of them talked about it at a dive restaurant that allowed college students to pretty much have run of the place. It was never popular enough to become a hangout for the majority of the student body, but people could study past the official closing time and there were plenty of discounted meals which may not have been on the same par as customers paying the full menu price, but college students would rather be full on mediocre eats rather than starving after eating a tiny amount of something exquisite.
At any rate, the two had a rather secluded booth which under any other circumstance could be seen as quite romantic. They both talked over their boarding problem and the fact they were far from thrilled to have to find and live with a whole new individual. They concocted a slightly silly plan which in reality had more merit than had been given credit.
The idea was to get two roommates to take one of the rooms, then one of this particular couple could move in with the other. Geenie was almost offended at the suggestion, but there was a lot more discussion over a short amount of time. This led to a slightly hesitant yes.
Geenie never had much desire to have anyone as a roomie but it was a necessity if she wanted to attend college and not have to worry about lifelong debt or living somewhere beyond the skids. Living with her mom and going to college would have been a little bit of a pain and waste of time in the long run. Nothing to exactly do with Geenie’s mother, but the distance commuting between school and home would have eaten up so much more time that could be spent studying. Besides, Geenie (and so did her mother deep down inside) felt she might as well live the whole college experience in the aspect of moving out and trying to see what else was in the world. Most other cliché college situations either missed Geenie or were an opportunity not seized: a sorority, late night keggers in lieu of studying, overdoing it on some form of caffenation, and the fabled “finding oneself” or “expanding one’s boundaries” or “experimentation” of any sort. Geenie never either pondered it or thought any of it was for her. For whatever it’s worth, she never seemed the type to wonder what the grass looked like for anyone else – and never feeling envious of it.
It may seem Geenie and Colin were getting cozy much in the same way many married couples recall their meeting and courtship. Maybe the two of them were very likeminded in this oblivious sort of way. Both sort of “went with the flow” and never really seemed to give into any sort of hormones or peer pressure. Maybe it was just a signal Geenie was good at putt out, or Colin was unsure what he was really looking for also. At any rate, they found each other and enjoyed each other’s company; as platonically innocuous it seemed.
Convenience won out, and the deal went through. Geenie ended up moving things to Colin’s place and her apartment was where the two new roommates ended up. It wasn’t made a big deal even though it did not come up to the matriarchs until a bit later. The two women seemed to know there was “something” going on and they had enough sense to not worry too much.
The respective leases ran out on the places Colin and Geenie owned. Some friends of friends helped out, and Colin found a small house. The theory was Geenie might move back in with her mom; or at least that was one possibility presented. Her mom assumed Geenie might have other accommodations in mind, so wasn’t a surprise in the least when Colin asked if she’d like to keep up the cohabitation. Since the ice had been broken and the respective couple’s mothers seemed keen on it all, things progressed and seemed free from any resistance.
Geenie never took a pause to reflect. It didn’t seem odd or bad in any way. For the most part, Geenie was comfortable with Colin; not to say she wasn’t uncomfortable with him at any point. Maybe some outsiders would wonder if any differences were too big of gaps, such as religion, but it never really came up at all.
This wasn’t a description as much as some make it out to be. It wasn’t even brought up as a topic or specific issue, more in passing. Colin was jewish and practiced to a casual extent. His mother was jewish, which was the literal criteria to be born into it. The biggest conversation may have been Colin asking if Geenie minded any of the books on the shelves or anything adorning the walls. She had no issues or qualms at all; inviting anything which covered the walls and held back the dreariness of a new house.
She may have cared if she was brought up especially religious possibly, but she didn’t seem to mind at all or take any particular issue. Her mom was catholic but not in the practicing way. When it came to holidays, it wasn’t anything to consider even. It may sound funny to some to know how lax these families were, but there is a kind of solace found in people where are beyond tolerant but making it a non-issue altogether.
There were times where holidays were spend at one house, and then another. Geenie had more jewish exposure than just that shiva, but meals didn’t really count to her. Her mom enjoyed visiting during some of the holidays when there were no other correlating. The mom enjoyed these occasions even if she did not grasp much of the significance. To her, these were more like fun outings or learning something new. A different experience rather than and specific cultural or religious ramifications. To Geenie’s mom, it was something new. Better to not have a care at all rather than taking up any issue. It may not be progressive, but it made things easier in the long haul.
Day in and out, and things seemed fine. Then it seemed some outside forces were at work; the best of intentions, but a small crack in the foundations nonetheless. A little bit of urging is what made the world cave in bit by bit.
Colin thought it would be best to take another step since it seemed the right thing to do and he also just had a guess it would be what every woman wants. In fact, that’s what it’s called in the sexist mantra: making an honest woman out of someone.
All of this took Geenie a bit by surprise. She though everything was fine the way it is, and nobody ever talked about longterm plans. It was living in the moment, even if that moment wasn’t all so thrilling. It was convenient and comfortable though; many people would trade their kingdom for those two adjectives to describe their life. None of this was an issue at first. She didn’t tell Colin she needed time to think about it. She didn’t ask if Colin thought it was too soon. The most surprising was perhaps how calm and normal the whole situation was. Settling down on the couch, to spend time alone together (reading separate things). It was just like many other evenings. Unlike all these other times, Colin had a ring to spring. And spring he did: no speech and neither was there a preamble. He leaned in and extended an engagement ring into her view without a box or pomp, and certainly no circumstance to speak of.
Instead of any of the other possible reactions, she asked him if he was sure. Then she asked what brought it on. Colin still had no special words or an epiphany to reveal to his seemingly unaffected gal pal. She wasn’t hoping for a moment of clarity or a small speech, but very honestly just wondered what brought it on. It certainly wasn’t from a hint of any sort. Even if not a hopeless romantic, she still wondered what pointed Colin to this moment. He replied back it seemed like the right thing to do. Much like deciding why to eat corn flakes for breakfast rather than any other cereal option.
Despite what he said, she decided rather calmly to accept the offer, just wondering if he was sure he wanted to go through with it – otherwise put it on the back burner. Colin did decide not to wait and it was official. They both agreed it can be a long engagement, but an engagement despite how far in the future a knot was to be tied.
Just as custom, their respective mothers sound out at a seemingly impromptu lunch appointment. Geenie purposefully walked in late while the other three waiting on her. It was then when she flashed it when greeting them. It wasn’t with any special flourish, but it was not a usual thing for Geenie to wear any rings and the same went for any other jewelry. A glint from the tastefully small diamond and a blink of gold from the band’s reflection was all it took. The maternal counterparts were shocked slightly but not as surprised as Geenie seemed to be when she was proposed to. Needless to say, it was received well and on time went again.
There was no joke about a long engagement. Colin and Geenie were happy and it didn’t come up as much between the assumed happy couple as when one of the mothers were at a family occasion or when a bigger group was around.
That was the preamble to any question about matrimony. Any sentence seemed to start that way from either mother Swaboda or the Rust camp.
“So…” It would be followed by, “When are you planning to walk down the aisle?” “You haven’t gotten cold feet yet, have you?” “Did something already happen and you’re just keeping it secret.?” “You better not have eloped because you would have a lot of answering to do.” “Are you even registered yet? How can you be engaged with no registry?” And so it went.
At some point there came an end to the line. Many others thought it was one thing or another; and each had a certain conjecture or perception. In reality Geenie just felt done. It was not a fight or any detail that bubbled to the surface and came to a head. Just as calmly as Colin held out the ring to her that one evening on the couch, she slid the very same ring off her finger. It wasn’t his fault; it wasn’t theirs. She felt things weren’t right in the way it was to proceed. She didn’t know what she was looking for, but that was perhaps her issue to start with. She seemed to just fall into her life and accept it all; without reflection or examination. This was nobody else’s fault but Geenie’s.
Maybe Geenie didn’t want to just move through life at the will of others. Maybe she was making the wrong choice, but there was no other way to know how this would end up if not for Geenie to make this decision. To an extent, everything she did in life seemed to be somehow controlled by the will or motivations of others. This isn’t to say anyone wasn’t looking out for Geenie, but Geenie had no idea what she wanted to do in life: who to be with, what to pursue, where to live, or what to even do on the holidays. The ring laying on the counter near the kitchen was the first symbolism that Geenie was certain about things being uncertain. She didn’t want fate to guide her, but she also didn’t know what the next proper step was.
Colin saw the ring separated from Geenie and they eventually had a long talk. It was much more lax than the usual ‘it’s not you it’s me’ type of conversations which is a code for anything deviating from a traditional relationship. Then again, not much was too traditional in the romantic sense when it came to the duo of Colin and Geenie.
It was a quiet sort of thing, but of course the others found out. Speculation was a difference of religion or the standard irreconcilable differences or a failure to compromise about some sort of matter. Colin and Geenie didn’t tell anyone more than the vague; and did not care what others thought. Deep down they both know things would somehow be fine, and maybe their paths would intertwine again.
Just as those words, Geenie and Colin did find their way back to a muted sort of friendship. They were never a couple or lovers again, but the had many occasions of enjoying each other’s company. Their mothers were never as fast of friends, but they were also pulled in different directions in life. They were not so much birds of a feather after that, but they still considered one another a friend- and always asking how each other’s child was doing.
All of these things are now dust and mist in the land of the tangible. Due to the accelerated string of events, there has been nothing to reflect on. Not know which way is up is a way to keep one’s mind off things, even if it’s an unhealthy practice. Before she knew it, Geenie’s eyes were closing after her hearty laugh and trying to piece together a couple lines of banter, accompanied by an apology she didn’t really mean. As far as it went, Jack knew Geenie needed this laugh. She fell back and let her eyes close; thinking she was still awake.
Jack crooked his head towards Geenie and noticed she was once again on her way to getting a little bit of well-deserved rest. He looked down and saw his bag which of course was still open. He pulled on the folder which caught Geenie’s eye earlier. It was in fact the one retrieved not so long ago. Moving objects aside, he was able to finally zip the bag closed. Jack used the back of his shoe to slide the bag underneath the chair he was sitting. Out of sight and mind – for now.
The noise of the small aircraft tapered off and became something more of a contenting hum rather than the earlier jostles and rattle. It was still loud, but more manageable to the ear now; along the vein of white noise. Jack decided it was no better time for him to try to sleep or at least get an extended rest. Based on how things were going, who know the next time he’ll find a chance to recharge his body and mind.