Love Story
everywhere now,
my legs trying to catch up with the pace of my heart.
    Paine Hall? (Ironic goddamn name!)
Downstairs are piano practice rooms. I know Jenny. When she’s
angry, she pounds the fucking keyboard. Right? But how about when
she’s scared to death?
    It’s crazy walking down the
corridor, practice rooms on either side. The sounds of Mozart and
Bartok, Bach and Brahms filter out from the doors and blend into this
weird infernal sound.
    Jenny’s got to be here!
    Instinct made me stop at a door where
I heard the pounding (angry?) sound of a Chopin prelude. I paused for
a second. The playing was lousy - stops and starts and many mistakes.
At one pause I heard a girl’s voice mutter, ‘Shit!’
    It had to be Jenny. I flung open the
    A Radcliffe girl was at the piano.
She looked up. An ugly, big-shouldered hippie Radcliffe girl, annoyed
at my invasion.
    ‘What’s the scene, man?’ she
    ‘Bad, bad,’ I replied, and closed
the door again.
    Then I tried Harvard Square. The Café
Pamplona, Tommy’s Arcade, even Hayes Bick - lots of artistic types
go there. Nothing.
    Where would Jenny have gone?
    By now the subway was closed, but if
she had gone straight to the Square she could have caught a train to
Boston. To the bus terminal.
    It was almost 1 A.M. as I deposited a
quarter and two dimes in the slot. I was in one of the booths by the
kiosk in Harvard Square.
    ‘Hello, Phil?’
    ‘Hey …’ he said sleepily.
‘Who’s this?’
    ‘It’s me - Oliver.’
    ‘Oliver!’ He sounded scared. ‘Is
Jenny hurt?’ he asked quickly. If he was asking me, did that mean
she wasn’t with him?
    ‘Uh - no, Phil, no.’
    ‘Thank Christ. How are you,
    Once assured of his daughter’s
safety, he was casual and friendly. As if he had not been aroused
from the depths of slumber.
    ‘Fine, Phil, I’m great. Fine.
Say, Phil, what do you hear from Jenny?’
    ‘Not enough, goddammit,’ he
answered in a strangely calm voice.
    ‘What do you mean, Phil?’
    ‘Christ, she should call more
often, goddammit. I’m not a stranger, you know.’
    If you can be relieved and panicked
at the same time, that’s what I was.
    ‘Is she there with you?’ he asked
    ‘Put Jenny on; I’ll yell at her
    ‘I can’t, Phil.’
    ‘Oh is she asleep? If she’s
asleep, don’t disturb her.’
    ‘Yeah,’ I said.
    ‘Listen, you bastard,’ he said.
    ‘Yes, sir?’
    ‘How goddamn far is Cranston that
you can’t come down on a Sunday afternoon? Huh? Or I can come up,
    ‘Uh - no, Phil. We’ll come down.’
    ‘Some Sunday.’
    ‘Don’t give me that ‘some’
crap. A loyal child doesn’t say ‘some,’ he says ‘this.’
This Sunday, Oliver.’
    ‘Yes, sir. This Sunday.’
    ‘Four o’clock. But drive
carefully. Right?’
    ‘And next time call collect,
    He hung up.
    I just stood there, lost on that
island in the dark of Harvard Square, not knowing where to go or what
to do next. A colored guy approached me and inquired if I was in need
of a fix. I kind of absently replied, ‘No, thank you, sir.’
    I wasn’t running now. I mean, what
was the rush to return to the empty house? It was very late and I was
numb -
    more with fright than with the cold
(although it wasn’t warm, believe me). From several yards off, I
thought I saw someone sitting on the top of the steps. This had to be
my eyes playing tricks, because the figure was motionless.
    But it was Jenny.
    She was sitting on the top step.
    I was relieved to speak. Inwardly I
hoped she had some blunt instrument with which to hit me.
    We both spoke so quietly, it was
impossible to take an emotional reading.
    ‘I forgot my key,’ Jenny said.
    I stood there at the bottom of the
steps, afraid to ask how long she had been sitting, knowing only that
I had wronged her terribly.
    ‘Jenny, I’m sorry - ‘
    ‘Stop!’ She cut off my apology,
then said very

Similar Books


Andrew McNeillie

Hemlock Bay

Catherine Coulter

Riders Down

John McEvoy

Love's Healing Touch

Jane Myers Perrine