Reconstructing Charlie

Unaware of her power, Shelley stopped bounced in the Dining Hall. Cutlery bounced off the parquet floor, a dish shattered and all because she entered the huge room. Her concentration focused on the food and she filled both our trays with fresh fruits, steamed vegetables, whole grain bread and pasta. I pictured Granny Apple’s meals and now Shelly took over in the care and feeding of me. I don’t know hoe the dorm people figured out roommate pairing, but I thanked them. A table in the center appeared to be empty. We hustled over and claimed it. Before long, other trays clattered down. Young men slid into oak chairs and getting to-no-you began. One eager guy leaned across the table to get Shelley’s attention. “Where do you come from? Uh, both of you.” I ignored him since he didn’t care if I came from Mars. Between healthy bites, at home with small talk, Shelley said, Alabama. English and Psych major concentrating on losing my southern accent.” I’m sure they were more interested in what else she’d lost like virginity, but she kept the conversation light and fun. With my backround, I’d never be comfortable with guys. Maybe I could learn to fake it by listening to Shelley. An offer to escort us to the Pub for a brew made me cringe. We turned down the beer, ordered iced tea in the crowded restaurant bar and watched the college scene whirl around us. “Fun, huh?” Shelley said. “I think so.” “Can’t stay too long. Practice begins tomorrow.” She flashed a grin, bounced an an invisible ball. “Me too.” Goodbyes waved to the nice guys and back to the dorm we went. “Y’all don’t like crowds.” Shelly said. “No.” “Y’all don’t like strangers bumping up against you.””Don’t go there, okay?” Uncomfortable silence followed for a block. I’ve been a closed book for years.” “When you’re ready to open the book, I’m here.”


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