Chapter 8

Chapter 8

A Chapter by Paris Kim

            Ending the chat with Geoff was a relief. I thought things would sort of be settled on his accord, but it all went from bad to worse. I knew that even after we hung up he still was disturbed about the whole.

I got off the rocks after I ended the phone call, reentering the cement walkway along the water and jay-walking across Bridgeway down back to the bookshop. Chad and Fran weren’t waiting at the entrance, meaning that they were still out at lunch. It was nice, peaceful, and quite relaxing to be locked in the bookshop by myself without any disruptions from the outside world. In this world within Berkeley Books lied many: Dickens’ Victorian England to Amy Tan’s crossing from China to the Bay Area and beyond into the Napoleanic war-torn Russia that Tolstoy wrote of. But when did I ever have time to enter these exciting worlds?

Shortly after twenty minutes had passed since my return Fran entered the store followed by Chad grinning and holding in his hands a portfolio of some sort. “You two seem amused,” I said to them.

“Look at what Shad did,” Fran began explaining, taking the small board from Chad and displaying it to me.

            “The hell,” I said following a laugh.

            “There was an artist doing caricatures near the talking white cockatoo and the guy,” Chad followed. It was a rather impressive impression portrait of Chad. “I couldn’t resist. Don’t you like how the lady included the water and the City in the background? And in only five whole minutes!”

“Why didn’t you get one, Fran?” I asked, handing the portrait back to its subject.

“Didn’t want one,” he said. “I was asked, of course, but I began to talk in Français.”
“Good work,” I commented. “Anyway, we ought to put that as your employee of the

month photo.”

“It would look nice,” Fran agreed laughing. “Go ahead, by all means,” Chad returned. “Anyhow, Mr. B., how was your lunch?”

“Did you give directions to more Italian?” Fran mocked, reminding me of the time was late from lunch to let him and Chad into the store because I had to guide an Italian family to where the ferry was, as they had gotten lost.

After Fran and Chad finished laughing I told them, “No, I got lucky. Watched the Bay, ate a pizza.”

“Lame,” Fran mused. “Seriously, since when was the last time you went to visit Madame Berkeley in the City? Nice get away that would be for you! I suggest we all have lunch at George’s aunt with his mother as well. I love North Beach.”

“Believe me,” I said, “I’ve gone into the City one too many times already. I’m good. Melissa also gets caught up with her job often.”

“What about friends?” Chad asked. “Anyone in the Bay I’m sure.”
            “Not really,” I dully replied.

“Oh yeah, your only friends are in England.”
            “But of course!” Fran exclaimed. “When you went to Liverpool for university. And what about your one gay friend Sharlie? Who got married in San Francisco? Where is he?”
            “He too is from Britain,” I said, “and besides he’s on honeymoon. He and his husband

took a cruise from here to Alaska.”

“Dude, you need friends,” Chad declared. “And don’t say they’re us, ‘cause we’re like ten years younger than you. Why don’t you call that guy in England, Sir Something-or-other! Yeah, the knight.”
            “He’s having too much fun with his life,” I flatly said.

“Jet plane?” Fran thought. “If he is a knight, and rich of course, he should come see you!”

“Well, hey, we need to get back to work here, you guys,” I then reminded. “And hey, wasn’t there a shipment today supposed to arrive?”
            “I thought it would,” Chad shrugged. “S**t, my girl Madison will be hella pissed.”

Later around three Melissa called the place. It was Fran who picked up and handed the phone over to me. “How’s the place going today?” she asked almost instantly.

“Fine, casual,” I reviewed to her. “What about you? Holding up okay, dear?”

“Chaos at the office,” she simply told, “lots of publications to come in and edit. God, let the day just be over!”

“I know, love,” I warmly said to her. “Love” was what I called her when we first met, an inside joke between us two after she made a remark on being nothing like an Englishwoman. “Hey, when we call it a day we’ll dine out tonight. It’s been a dull day for the both of us. Scoma’s?”

“Hmm, sounds nice. I’m looking forward to blow $62 on steak joint-- $62 which we don’t have to spare at the moment.”

“God, Mel, who the hell cares,” I said. “Anything for you, okay? Plus, we don’t have to get steak or oysters. Appetizers are good�"and you barely eat.”
            “Shut up, George,” she scoffed, laughing. “I’d love to dine out tonight. I’ll try to get off an hour early to get home okay? So I can get there and change.”

“I’ll close the shop a bit early then,” was my solution. “Chad and Fran don’t have to much to do here and they can get bored. I’ll still pay them for the hours I closed when they should’ve been working.”
            “You’re so sweet.”
            “You’re lovlier. Call me when you get off, okay?”
            “See you then. I love you.”

            “I love you too.” We hung up.

            The store usually closed at eight, but two hours early wouldn’t do much harm. Chad left before me and Fran, leaving us to lock up at six-twelve that evening. Fran stood aside watching me lock up, asking more about the reason behind closing early.

            “A nice dinner with Mel, that’s all,” I simply told him.

            “Very nice, George! To have all the time in the world to make the Madame very happy.”

            “She’s not coming home for awhile. So it gives me time to prepare myself. I look like s**t today.”

            “I didn’t think so,” he told me. “To me, you always looked nice. Always make myself want to look nice.”

            “Ah, well thanks Fran.” He returned a smile, and after pulling up his sweater zipper and adjusting his backpack straps, said, “Well, I wish the best to the both of you tonight. Tell me tomorrow about the dinner. I’ll be off now, bye-bye!”

            But before he walked off, I thought of him having to wait alone for the next ferry ride to San Francisco an hour early. Also, in the evening Sausalito streets were deserted in contrast to the business of the day with tourists and locals alike. “Say, Fran,” I said, “want me to walk and wait with you at the dock?”

            “Are you sure?”he asked. “I might delay your plans. I’m good, George. I’ve waited a long time for the ferry before. Merci.”

            “No, no, I wouldn’t mind the least bit.” I really didn’t want him to be out like that. It was sad. I knew Mel wouldn’t mind the delay.

            So we walked down Bridgeway and waited at the dock for the ferry ride. This had been Fran’s commute for the past few years, but to him he was fascinated by such a unique commute. “You consider yourself lucky, Fran?” I asked him while we were leaning over the railing that blocked off the water.

            “Oh, very much!” the young Frenchman told me. “I live right now in one of the most beautiful cities in the world! I couldn’t ask for more.”

            “I’m glad to hear it then.”
            “Why do you ask? Are you not?”

            “Oh! No, of course I am. I love living here. It’s just, god, we all live such different lives, don’t we?”
            “We do, I agree. Everyone does, but you know what? That’s what makes life exciting.”

            “Yeah, it does. Different. God, Fran, whenever I talk to you�"you’re fourteen years younger than me�"but you always make me feel so retarded. It was must be a French thing right? Europeans seem to know how to observe and enjoy life more than Americans.”

            “That I do not know. D’après-moi, I think we are the same somehow. Like you and me. I lived in Vitrolles, and you in Sausalito. Too cities by the water, amazing!”

            “Oh, it is. God, I sure am glad to have you as an asset to the store.” The ferry was now sailing up clear into the dock. But before Fran took off he said to me, “Thank you, George. And you know what else? IF being happy is what you’re worried about, don’t be. You do have a wonderful life. Don’t take it for s**t.”

            I laughed and assured him I wouldn’t, and as the rusting ferry pulled out from Sausalito, I concluded that perhaps I was like Geoff. I mean, I was happy, and I was wasting my time thinking about a shitload of nothing. Thank god for the French.

© 2011 Paris Kim

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Added on March 8, 2011
Last Updated on March 8, 2011


Paris Kim
Paris Kim

San Francisco, CA

an optimistic college student who takes her life growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area and turns it into truthful fiction. always finding a way to smile and laugh and make the most of anything thro.. more..

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A Chapter by Paris Kim