Pages for You

Free Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg

Book: Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sylvia Brownrigg
Tags: Fiction, General
felt it, once, that she had not invented it—was all but out.
    “Where are you staying?”
    It was not a question Flannery had fixed an answer to. Not that she’d assumed . . . She hadn’t, exactly. It was just that her planning mind had given out past the point where she found the café on MacDougal; if she could just find the café, she thought, the rest—whatever rest there might be—would take care of itself.
    “Well, I—I could go to Mary-Jo’s. She said I’d be welcome. Or—I can always just take the train back tonight. There’s probably one back, still.”
    “The last one’s in about half an hour,” Anne said crisply.
    Flannery shrugged. For the first time, perhaps, since arriving in New York. But suddenly she was tired. “That’s probably what I should do.” Her voice was flat. “Take the last train.”
    They walked in silence. Not an especially companionable one. Flannery was moping; Anne, evidently, was thinking.
    “I’d invite you to stay where I am,” she said with a trace of apology, “at my friend Jennifer’s. But it’s such a poky little apartment. It’s just a one-bedroom. With a futon.” She slicked her hair back behind her ear. “Though Jennifer did tell me the place has a Murphy bed, too. I’ve never actually tried it.”
    “What’s a Murphy bed?”
    “What is one?” Anne’s tongue was still sharp, though she tried to blunt it somewhat. “You know, you’re cute, Flannery—you really don’t know a damn thing.”
    Flannery took hold of Anne’s arm then, to slow her down. She was walking so fast! “You’ve got to stop saying that.” She had Anne’s attention now. “I know all kinds of things. I know how to survive dorm life, though it’s totally degrading. I know how to take the train to New York. And I know how to wait at the train station for someone who’s going to New York, so I can give them something I want them to have.”
    It was the first time either of them had mentioned what Flannery had written. Pages for You. Remember?
    It broke through whatever carapace had formed over the baffling object of Flannery’s desire. “You’re right,” Anne said. Quietly. “You do know things. I’m sorry, I’m being a shrew.”
    They were walking down University Place now, and reached Tenth Street. Anne steered them around the corner, down half a block, then stopped. She blew on her bare hands, glanced up at a dim apartment building, kept her eyes away from Flannery’s.
    “Well, this is it.”
    Flannery was bewildered. This was what? Goodbye—just like that? Wasn’t Anne even going to help her get a cab? Before she could question her, Anne carried on.
    “Do you want to come up?” she asked, in an oddly humble voice that just about made Flannery melt right there on the sidewalk. “You can see what a Murphy bed is. It’s something every girl, sometime in her life, should find out.”

I t was the flutter-doubt that gave Flannery assurance. As they shed the night’s cold, standing in the stuffy intimacy of the elevator, Flannery saw Anne’s slight frame shiver—from some hesitation, some internal query. Sensing it, Flannery suddenly knew.
    This night is mine. She is giving it to me.
    This beautiful confidence kept the young woman cheerful as the older one fumbled with the lock and issued coughed apologies for the paper-strewn disarray of the apartment (but they were formal, not genuine, Flannery thought, and she could see signs, too, of an order in the narrow room, a just in case, for company, clearing). Flannery watched Anne’s hands fly about the room untamed, gesturing at Jennifer’s Frida Kahlo postcards, her shrine to Marlene Dietrich, the “view” that could be seen, if you twisted yourself around by the window, of Wall Street (but showing this required Anne to lead Flannery over to that end where the futon lay and perform an awkward dance step around an object that said loudly, Bed. Bed. BED). Tucked rustily into the wall behind a flamboyant

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