Title: with the BIRDS i share this lonely view [Gerard]
Professor Avocet Burke - January 13, 2011 04:42 AM (GMT)
Friday night; late; Mama Lil's and a plate of fries - a little beat repeated in Birdie's
head as she munched on the fatty treat. All dressed up and no where to go; Birdie wasn't much of a drinker and while she got on well with most of the teaching staff at SGA she still felt like a bit of an outsider. It was like the morning she spent talking to Mason. No one made
her feel inferior... she just did. How hard was it really, to do her job? She pictured PawPaw sitting across from her; cleaning his glasses and shaking his head; telling her that anyone could paint a picture or slap together pieces of clay - that feller Bob Ross could do one in an half an hour. No he never had much use for art; until the first time he'd sat down and watched her drag her fingers through that heavy kid paint when she was three. From then on out, well he knew what a real artist looked like; it was the passion that made it beautiful, made it important.
Swirling a fry through ketchup she doodled on the half empty plate. She had no idea why the devil she felt so mopey about being on her own tonight. Normally she enjoyed it. At RISD she had had a full social life, lots of friends; they even had weekly dinners in which Birdie was kept as far from the kitchen as possible. They drank cheap wine and talked about when their lives would be big and grand. Now they all had started families or were traveling Europe; or doing what most art majors end up doing - tending bar. They had fractured apart and seemed to mostly be held together by Patrick and Birdie... when that was over, well. Last she'd heard from anyone none of them were speaking and even after a year everyone was still trying to pick sides. That probably had more to do with the fact Birdie just up and left than the actual relationship ending. She knew people blamed Patrick - sometimes she blamed Patrick; but she knew that wasn't fair.
Sighing she popped the very ketchup-y fry past her lips and made a face. Fries did not make excellent drawing utensils if you planned on putting them in your mouth. Also; they were floppy, and too salty She liked the too salty part though; even if it did make her ankles swell up. Womens bodies were so weird, the things they retained and needed to be kept at a societal level of attractive. So to the list of strange behaviors one could art ketchup art and imaginary conversations to the list of Birdie's most recent hobbies. Also, she seemed to pick up acquaintances in the strangest of places - her bungalow kitchen for instance, walking down the street, and just then there was a familiar face that plopped down across from her in the booth. For a moment she thought it was just her imagination - she did have a highly over active one. She often saw people that weren't really there - s'why she believed in ghosts. She was almost tempted to reach over and pinch him to make sure he was real but settled instead on saying, "Why...Hello".
Professor Gerard Calgary - January 13, 2011 10:17 PM (GMT)
On the long list of reasons why Gerard hated being alone was spending Friday nights without anywhere to go or anything to do or even a halfway decent home-cooked meal. He'd been living on instant mac & cheese and TV dinners for too long. It was on a whim that he dressed
somewhat presentably and drove into town. The first and only place it occurred to him to go was Mama Lil's -- he was easily bought by the free pie offered to SGA professors. He had a sweet tooth that could chew through sugar-coated steel; potential extortionists need only to offer him some kind of dessert and he'd give them anything they wanted.
Almost as soon as he walked in, he spotted Birdie, a fellow professor and geokinetic, in one of the booths. She was sitting alone, too -- well, no sense in the two of them occupying two tables, right? They knew each other, they were both alone, why not? Sure, it was spontaneous, but he wouldn't take it too harshly if she asked him to leave. After all, it wasn't like either of them had planned this.
"Hey Birdie!" he said jovially as he plopped into the booth across from her. "Hope this seat's not taken... how are you?" He accepted a menu with a smile from a waitress, and asked for a glass of lemonade. "Hope I'm not intruding on anything... just didn't feel like cooking for one tonight, you know? Plus, I can't resist the free pie here. Total job perk, if you ask me."
Professor Avocet Burke - January 15, 2011 06:55 PM (GMT)
It took Birdie a moment to pull herself from the part of her brain that had been imagining Paw; who if he were really there would have a big ol hunk of G in his lap and so very uncomfortable, It was like he was speaking through water she could hear the words but their meaning was lost on her for a moment. She did manage to smile at the mention of pie; and finally found herself able to speak; "Some of us have lumpy bottoms and cankles to worry about - so really the offer is a doubled edged sword. Of course once one's body becomes lumpy and they have cankles I suppose it would be a very comforting gesture".
Birdie's self image wasn't exactly bad; but it was hard to feel pretty when you worked with the moment she worked with. She absolutely adored Gracie - and the Home Ec. professor was the essence of sugar and spice - but she was also effortlessly gorgeous. And Birdie... well Birdie changed her clothes ten times after getting out of the shower. Then of course there was the exotic language professor, and the far more delicate and graceful brown eye'd beauty who taught health.
Most of the time she just brushed her bangs from her eyes in that nervous little way she had and smiled in touch a way that her slightly crooked front incisor wasn't as visible.Tonight she bushed her bangs from her eyes and pushed her plate of fries toward Gerard; "A snack before dinner. If I eat them all I'll hate myself in the morning. Besides they are hot and salty and mostly completely irresistible. She grinned then, her nose wrinkling a little in amusment; "Just what is a handsome devil like you doing alone on a Friday night? I thought I was the only one who had absolutely no social life at SGA".
Professor Gerard Calgary - January 17, 2011 09:02 PM (GMT)
It was a miracle Gerard was in any kind of shape at all, what with the dive his diet had taken now that he was a bachelor (even if he pretended not to be). He exercised at a reasonable level, but he was surprised that even at 30, his metabolism was still good enough to cover the difference between what he ate and what he worked off. He wondered how long that would last... "I guess I'm lucky," he mused aloud. "Haven't quite slowed down on the metabolism yet -- I suppose it'll happen within the next five years, though, right?"
Oh, score! She was handing over her French fries. That was awesome. He grinned and accepted the plate, pulling over the bottle of ketchup and adding a hefty dollop to the plate. "Thanks, Birdie," he said, munching on a few as he gave the menu a quick glance. He accepted his glass of lemonade from the waitress and ordered a basket of chicken tenders and fries -- yes, more fries, with a side of honey mustard, please -- before handing back the menu and turning to Birdie.
He blushed a little and laughed off her compliment, dipping another fry in the ketchup. What was he supposed to answer? Oh, my wife was murdered so I don't really have anyone to cook for me at home and I got tired of Top Ramen? Yeah, no. A lie was a lot better than the truth, at least in his mind. A lot better. "Oh, the missus is out of town on business for a while, and, well, free pie is a lot better than TV dinners. That, and there's lovely people like you who're also lonely and could use a little company," he said with a wink. A half truth was better than no truth at all... right? "How've you been lately?"
Professor Avocet Burke - January 19, 2011 02:23 PM (GMT)
He didn't eat like a married man; at least not one who could cook. Then again her mother kept her father so stuffed the only reason he ever came to the table was because it was time - and if there was one thing Lola Burke did not tolerate it was someone letting her gumbo get cold. That whimsical thought had her missing spicy crawfish and all the other things her friends looked at her like she was crazy for loving.
"Poor fellow. When will the Missus be back? I'd love to meet her. If the fact that I'm eating fries late at night in Mama Lil's isn't hint enough I'm hopeless and making friends. Or at least friends that don't feel guilty going out with me," she gave a half laugh; thinking of the looks on Jack and Jason's faces if she ever just walked into a bar. Everyone just thought she was so prim for some reason.
Obviously they'd never seen her down half a bottle of Jack and do a walking handstand across a bar top. It really as a good thing no one looked too deeply into one's college antics. Brushing her hair from her eyes she shrugged at his question; "I just haven't found the place I fit... yet I know that probably sounds silly but I think there is this little niche we have; that is just our shape and size and once we find it we can be cozy and happy even it it's mundane because thats where we belong. I just haven't found it yet".
Professor Gerard Calgary - January 21, 2011 04:18 AM (GMT)
Gerard was thankful that he'd just taken a bite of a French fry when she asked him when his wife would be back. That was such an awkward question to answer, right after he'd made it seem like Sarah was still alive. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew someone would eventually call him on the fact that his wife was simply never in town; or they'd go to the city graveyard and find the headstone marked Sarah Calgary. He was hoping to put that day off for as long as he possibly could.
"I don't really know," he said casually, drawing the lie from past truths. "She's working on negotiating with a client... she works for her father's construction company, see, and she does a lot of the contracting stuff. It depends on how cooperative the client is feeling. Hopefully she'll be back soon." He hoped that was convincing enough... as long as he was scant on the details, right? Heavens, he was not built to handle this kind of thing.
He tilted his head a little, smiling at Birdie's curious answer. She was a creative thinker, and he liked that about her. Even if he wasn't entirely sure what she was talking about. "Well, I'm sure you'll find it eventually," he said. "But, in the meantime, Friday nights with free pie! I'm not opposed to that in the slightest." And man, was he hungry. The fries, plus his coming food, and a slice of pie sounded just perfect to sate him. This was a good night.
Professor Avocet Burke - January 22, 2011 08:27 AM (GMT)
Birdie nodded like she understood what he was saying about his wife. It sounded strange to her - but then her parents could hardly spend three days apart. It was like they shared a brain; when one of them had to be away it was worse than living with a love sick teenager. They texted and called constantly; and whined. The whining is what drove her insane. It wasn't even that they were dependent on one another in day to day life. Her mother did her thing and her father worked or shopped around galleries. It was the night that got to them, they ate dinner together whether it was seven in the evening or four in the morning. Then again her parents had been married twenty-five years. Most marriages didn't last that long anymore.
"That must be hard for you," she gave him a sad look and reached across the table to pat his hand. If she knew the truth she'd have no idea how hard it was for him. Of course if she had been madly in love and the person she loved was murdered... well Birdie could understand the need to pretend they were still around. She regularly found herself having conversations in her head with both of her grandmothers that had passed away - and just a moment ago hadn't she been picturing Paw sitting across from her cleaning his glasses? He wasn't dead but he was in Kentucky - which sometimes felt like the same thing.
"At least you have the pie for comfort," she grinned a little. Toying with her nails she looked around the quite diner and searched for something to say. If she had to fall back on work conversation already she was never going to make friends. She just didn't have anything else to talk about. She wasn't a gossip by nature - she found it kind of tacky. She didn't watch sports, and well what the hell else could they talk about. Resting her chin in one hand she chewed on the inside of her cheek before finally giving up, "Have you gotten sucked into the planning for the Valentine's Day Masquerade"?
Professor Gerard Calgary - January 24, 2011 06:49 AM (GMT)
He smiled, a twinge sadly, as Birdie patted his hand. If only she knew... but no. Birdie was his coworker, and more importantly his friend; he wasn't about to just dump something like that on her. It wasn't the time and it most definitely wasn't the place. "It is pretty tough," he said truthfully, before slipping into the lie. "But that's what telephones were invented for... e-mails if we're both really busy. Or even texts. Not a whole lot, just enough to say hi, mostly."
Gerard grinned at the mention of pie. "Speaking of..." He glanced up as the waitress as she set down his plate. "Thank you... can I get a slice of apple pie, too, please? I'm an SGA professor... that one you guys just can't seem to get rid of." He laughed with a friendly wink thrown in for good measure as she wrote it down, and he polished off Birdie's fries, moving on to his own food. Mmm, chicken.
He dipped a chicken tender in the honey mustard and took a bite as Birdie dawdled for a moment before asking him a question. Swallowing, he wiped his mouth with a napkin and nodded. "Yup!" he said, once the food had cleared his throat. "Actually not so much sucked in as volunteered... don't know why, but I love helping out with things like this. I volunteered to help set up, chaperone, tear down, the whole nine yards. I've already got my wardrobe for the evening picked out and everything. I just hope I don't spill... I'm wearing an all-white suit, with a red shirt underneath. Are you planning on attending, too?" He took another bite of his chicken and washed it down with some lemonade, once he'd finished speaking.
Professor Avocet Burke - January 25, 2011 02:31 AM (GMT)
Birdie gave him a small sheepish smile; "I've always been socially hopeless with things like that. I didn't really party much when I was their age; and then in college I had my group of friends - and with them at parties I felt much cooler than I probably actually was," she laughed a little and made a face, "And I had a built in date with Patrick, or if he were working Link would step in..." she trailed off sipping her tea and looking to the ceiling, her lips purse to the side; "I don't feel like I've been a grown up long enough to... chaperon. I hardly feel old enough - or tall enough to be a teacher and enforce my own classroom rules".
It was true - some of the freshmen even had several inches on her. When she dressed for working in the ceramics room she could easily be mistaken for a student breaking dress code. She was also laid back and tried to make her little artists flourish which meant that she couldn't have a et of rigid due dates. Limits created anxiety. She didn't want anyone feeling anxious of sub par. She found herself smiling as he described his wardrobe choice for the evening, "I have a dress. I still need to find shoes though," her voice tailed off and she gave a shrug. Lord she was awkward sometimes.
Professor Gerard Calgary - February 1, 2011 10:27 PM (GMT)
He gave a friendly laugh in between bites, careful to cover his mouth with a hand so that food wouldn't go spraying all over her. That was only a little bit ungainly. "I didn't party much, either," he said, once he'd gotten control over his mouth and the contents of it. "I was too busy working... but I like helping out and planning things and so forth. Especially if it's for the students; some of them could really use a good time, you know? It's the least we can do, if we're going to keep them cooped up on campus and shove oodles of homework down their throats."
He found it interesting, however, that she didn't feel like enough of an adult to be in the position that she was, or to do extracurricular things like chaperone a dance. He nibbled thoughtfully on a French fry before he replied. "I don't think it really matters," he said. "I mean, no matter what age or height we are, we still have one-upmanship on the students in that we've been to college. I don't think it matter so much you think of yourself as an adult as you are one, and you're responsible enough to take care of these kids -- and I know you are, Birdie. You've gotta be great with those kids, I just know it."
Oddly philosophical musings aside, these were some great chicken tenders. He sprinkled them with a little pepper on a whim, and grinned at her musings on her wardrobe, glad that the conversation had deviated from why he was alone on a Friday night. "I'm sure you'll look great in it no matter what, but what's the dress look like? I'd give you some suggestions on what to look for in shoes, but I'm kind of clueless about shoes. I just know what size I wear, couldn't tell you anything more."