Happy Valentine's Day!

   Thurs handed him a pad and pencil. “Let’s see one of your good ideas.”
   The aspiring architectural physicist accepted the materials, found a chair, and tapped the freckle below his bottom lip.
   As Clementine, Monty, and Sutton studied the room’s cluttered corkboards, admiring photos of fantastical, faraway hotels, the factory’s chief checked his computer, obviously concerned, then his phone.
   “Fair?” Gomery called from his spot near the drafting tables.
   “What’s up?”
   “I need to start over.” He ripped the sheet from the pad. “Mind taking this?”
   “Just erase your mistake. You’re not being graded.”
   “I’ll be done in a jiffy.” He handed me the piece of paper and began again.
   “Is a jiffy shorter than an instant?”
   “A jiffy is the shortest unit of time,” he winked.
   As I returned to the trash bin where Thurs had tossed the reel-to-reel’s green bow, I paused to peek at Gomery’s idea.
   It was the Motel Fairwil swimming pool as seen from above. He’d captured the motel’s neon sign as well as the umbrellas, tables, and pool loungers. But it was the diving board, or what was on the diving board, that sent my stomach into my left thigh: Four hands, two on each side, grasped the board’s edges.
   I folded it as fast as I’d ever folded anything. Shoving it in my back pocket, I glanced at Thurs and my friends, feeling furtive as hell. The drawing was more personal than the one my old foe and new friend had fingertipped on the foggy window at The Redwoodian, and far more forward. Or cheekier, at least, given that the hands on the diving board were very close together indeed.
   “How’s it coming, Gomery?” called Thurs, not looking up from his phone.
   “Ditched the first attempt,” he sighed.
   I met the artist’s eye. “Were you board with it or something?”
   “Very. But I’m diving back in now,” he said, barely containing his mirth.


Caitlin #1 said...

I love that Fair folds up the paper and hides it away so quickly. I feel kind of the same way about this passage -- I have to read it fast because it makes me feel like I'm going to vomit! ;)

(Apologies if this posts twice, it seems my comment got eaten the first time...)

bess said...

This is just dreamy (the passage and the illustration)!

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