Her name is Alison
& though I barely know her, I think I am falling in love with her. This is problematic because I may never see her again.
OK, maybe I should start at the beginning.
A couple of months ago I was in Kash... with Nugo and he was planning on being there a lot longer than I wanted to, so I caught a bus back here to V-town.
On the bus were two other Americans, Peace Corps volunteers, on there way to Batumi for the weekend. The man was named Reggie and the woman was Alison.
He was short, fat(heavier than me even) and wearing those terrible cargo pants looking shorts I despise, these ones were in the style of desert camo fatigues but only going down to the knees, so I took a pretty immediate disliking to him. She, Alison, looks like the Margaret Wang character from "Rushmore" glasses included, god how I adore a pretty woman in glasses. As soon as I looked at her I(in my head) thanked God I had shaved that morning, including my head, followed by the voice in my head reminding me that I almost always shave if I know I am going to be going "to town" soon, so in the end, just better to thank myself.
During that nearly hour sitting on the bus next to each other, Reggie did most of the talking, he was loud and seemed to somewhat talk down to Alison, he began to remind me of my younger self a little, so my dislike quickly became hate, tinged with jealousy of course, I just could not understand what she was doing with this loser. The little that Alison did speak, I learned that she was from Socal too, had Reggie not been there I would have delved deeper, but instead I just sat there, listening to Reggie repeatedly cut her off and giving me the evil eye. When I got up to leave the bus I told them it was a pleasure to meet them, shook Alison's hand, because she stood up, then as I moved past them I turned to Reggie and said: "Nice shorts" Alison giggled at that which is what I remember most from that first brief encounter with her. She banged around inside my head for a number of weeks and was probably the reason I went to the trouble of downloading the "Rushmore" soundtrack, I had not listened to it in years, but use to play it all the time for years. Back in late 04 when my world came crashing down around me, it was one of the few CDs I managed to salvage from the ruins of my life, but it turned out to be very scratched and I forgot all about it, just as I had about Alison.
Until last week, I was on the bus to Zep... to making my tri-monthly trip to the bank and she got on, by herself in Boriti, there were two empty seats on the bus, one next to me at the very back, I always sit at the very back, and directly in front of me there was one next to, of all things, another Asian woman. A little about this other Asian woman, I had shared the bus with her more than once, I happened to know she spoke no English, was from mainland China, she always had a stern look about her and wore dark sunglasses. Alison moved past her and sat down next to me, I think I gaped at her for a second, she wrinkled her brow and I said: "I'm Robby, you probably don't remember, but we met on another bus a while ago, your Alison, right?" She said something like "Oh yeah" and we got to talking. Turns out she was on her way to Zep... for the first time, she needed to go to the bank there, I told her I knew where it was and could show her, she thanked me. Then at some point I asked her how she had liked Batumi, she did not seem to like it very much, I suggested that that might have been because of the company she was keeping. She responded with: "Yeah, he turned out to be a jerk." I smiled(making sure to keep my mouth shut, I always worry about the horror which is the inside of my mouth, then said: "Sorry, but that does not surprise me." She told me that at one point she think he want off with a prostitute, I then told her that is one of the things Batumi is reknowned for, still though, kind of messed up him doing that with having brought you along with him, wow.
Here I must note Alison's voice, she talked fast, not as fast as I have been known to, but at about the same still fast pace I do now, so thankfully, this meant she had no trouble understanding me, nor I her, and the sound of her voice, oh god, the sound her voice, it was both squeaky and tapered of to breathless when she spoke a lot, which she did. At some point I learned that she had graduated from UCI last year(which I calculated made her 23) She was planning to go to med school, but first taking a break from school to visit her father in China and then do a year in the Peace Corp, which sent her here to Georgia to help with the opening of a little medical facility, mainly for pre-natal care and giving kids shots. When we got to the bank, there was big dumpster in front of it and it looked like they were doing construction work at it. We went up to the ATM machine, she looked relieved when she saw it, I was about to use it, when I stopped, turned to her and said: "You know, the atm frequently runs out of money, and I still have enough on me to make it home, you go first, oh and make sure to tell it "no" when it asks you if you want a receipt, the paper always seems to be out and if you press "yes" it often cancels your transaction. She thanked me and tried to use it, sure enough it was out of money and the bank was closed for business, I could see panic creep into her face and I told her not to worry, we still had many options, the first being using a non-Liberty bank atm, but that would mean a high service fee, second, we could walk around looking for these Liberty bank vans that you could get money at, I asked her if she had her passport, she did not, but I thought that might still work since they had let me use my California Drivers License once, lastly, I knew of another Liberty bank a couple of miles away, I had never used it, but found it when I was taking a short-cut months ago, I asked her if she was up for that. She said yes and we walked off. As we walked, she did most of the talking, but sometimes we just walked quietly, this is something I have been practicing now for a while, just being quiet, its hard for me, but I managed, I did let her know how much I appreciated talking to another American, in my town there is only one other person who speaks English, one of my co-teachers and she does not like me, so we talked little, none now that school is out. We then talked about how different our experiences of Georgia have been, she is mainly around people who speak English, either other volunteers or Georgian professionals. When we got to the bank, which is easy to miss, the only way to tell what it is one is on the door which is opened inward, you can only see it at the right angle and maybe the security guard is outside of it or near the door. He was not, but when we got in, there he was, I told him hello in Georgian, he seemed to recognize me from my walking by there a number of times over the months, I asked him if there was an ATM, he pointed at the end of a long corridor, I thanked him and could tell it had just been installed. We got our money and I asked her if she needed to do anything else in town, telling her my plans to buy some food and internet cards(Magti). She said that would be great, she wanted to get some of her own food, she shared a house with a number other volunteers and she really wanted to get some fruit and vegetables, all other people she lived with were big meat eaters. I asked her if she was a vegetarian, she said some weird word which basically means she eats fish & shellfish but not other animals. Then she asked me if I was one, I told her no, even though I listen to a lot of Morrissey. She asked me:
"Isn't he that guy who hates Chinese people?" I think she was joking but I am pretty knee jerk about defending him, so I tried to explain what he had meant by what he said, it was stupid, I should have never mentioned him, but she seemed to let it pass, I suppose I should have just been happy she knew who he was. I asked her what music she liked, she said "Musicals" I said "Of course" She asked me what I meant by that and I told her I loved musicals too. At some point it came out that we were both really from "Orange County" not L.A.
Me having gone to high school in Westminster and her growing up mainly in Tustin, not far away.
Here is where I could have put my foot in my mouth and talked about more about Westminster, going to a mainly Asian high school and steering perilously close to other things I should not mention(or someone). For once I did not do those things, could it be I am learning?
As I took her to the different market stores and the big "bazaari" I bought things, so did she, I used my little Georgian, even haggled some, more than usual, I was really on my game both language wise and getting the prices down on things, I put this off to having an audience and a beautiful(at least to me) one at that. I think if I could just imagine I am in the presence of a beautiful English speaking woman all the time, I really could be more of the me I meant to be.
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