I pulled up to Julia's and knocked. Letting me in, I exclaimed,
"You were wonderful tonight. Absolutely fabulous. I didn't know you could
sing so well. It truly moved me."
Beaming she bent down and pulled me into a tight hug, which I
returned. This is one person who I knew would love me unconditionally, and
the fact that we had the same friends made that part of my worries much
more bearable. And I don't think Julia has a violent bone in her body, so
that fear was not foremost in my mind either. We went in and chatted a
little more about the musical. She shared her nervousness during her first
moments on stage, then how it all melted away as she became "Anna." Julia
practically glowed from the excitement that still remained. After she
finished telling all she could about her first evening on stage (she had
played bit parts before, but never a leading role until tonight), she
turned to me and stated, matter of factly, "Now tell me what happened with
Matt." No "I knew you went over there last night, I told you so", no "I'm
so hurt you couldn't tell me the truth about going over to see Matt,"
instead, just, "Tell me what happened, I'm here for you." Ah, how could I
ever have thought less of her?
I explained the stressful morning and told how both Drew and Jess
recommended I not see him any more. She concurred, and I couldn't help but
smile. "Of course you do, you want me all to yourself!"
Laughing, she replied, "Why, how did you ever come to that
conclusion," and pulled me closer to her as we sat together on the couch.
Leaning towards her, I turned my face up to hers, and she lightly kissed
me. Pulling back, she tried to stifle a yawn.
"Have I become that boring?" I joked, knowing full well how tired
she must be. "You must be exhausted. I should let you get some sleep," I
laid my head on her shoulder, wanting more, but more than that wanting to
have her whole and healthy.
"Yes, I am exhausted. But I hope you aren't planning to go home? I
want you to stay. Can you?"
Nodding, I smiled my assent, and we walked upstairs together. Oh
to lie in her arms again, feeling so safe and secure there. Of course I
would not refuse such an offer.
Wednesday morning came too early and we got up and prepared for the
day. Everyone was going home today and I knew I would miss them all, but
the thought of having some time to myself was superb. Julia and I hugged
our goodbyes and I well wished her travels home to Lake George, New York.
I would see her again Friday when she returned. Then, I drove over to
Jess's and hugged she and Priscilla goodbye as they headed out for a few
days at Cape Cod. Since Jess was from Oregon and Priscilla from Kansas,
they had been planning a fun trip to Nantucket for this holiday. I only
wished I could go with them, but I needed to stay here and spend time with
family. Maybe we could go again in spring. Finally, I stopped by Drew's,
knowing he was soon to head home to Portland, Maine, to make sure he
remembered to send me a postcard when he and his family visited their cabin
in Cabot Cove on Thanksgiving Day. As I arrived, Ms. Gwen was outside
raking her leaves. I smiled at her and waved as she watched me to Drew's
door. That woman probably had more information stored about me in her
curious little mind than my own mother.
"Come on in," He smiled as he opened the door. Waving at Ms. Gwen,
he pulled the door shut behind us. "I am glad you came by, for I have a
job for you over the break."
"What, what!" I asked excitedly, knowing he wouldn't give me
something boring to do.
"You know how Evan and Alex are from north of everything, and of
course they don't even celebrate Thanksgiving, so they are staying around
for the holiday. They need some company, and I want you to help them out.
Give them a tour of Salem or something, since you've been here since the
I stuck my tongue out at him and assented. "Of course, that sounds
like fun. I mean, I'm looking forward to some 'me' time, but I think some
touring with friends would be cool too. It will give me an excuse to see
more of my home city, since we take for granted where we live."
"And, you can learn more about Evan for me. And you can learn more
about Alex for you," he winked at me. I again stuck out my tongue.
He gave me their phone number and I hugged him goodbye. "Have a
blast at home."
"You know I will," he smiled as I walked back out to the car,
waving goodbye to Drew and Ms. Gwen both.
That afternoon I called over to Evan and Alex's place to set up
when we could hang out.
"Hello?" One or the other of them answered their phone.
"Hi, this is Diana, Drew's friend from last night?" I replied.
"Oh hi Diana, this is Alex. How are you today?" He answered.
"Great thanks. Hey, I hear you two aren't going anywhere over the
holiday and I figured you might like to see some more of our fine town.
Would you guys be interested in hanging out over the next few days?"
"Sounds like fun. Let me ask Evan. Hold on a sec." I could hear
them chatting in the background but couldn't distinguish words from their
deep mumbles. "Hey, I'm back. Yeah, we'd both love that."
"Great, how about we get together this afternoon, see a little bit
downtown, and go from there?"
"Sure, want to come by and pick us up here?"
"Sounds great," I answered.
They gave me directions and I promised to arrive about 2:30. It
was almost noon now, so I grabbed a quick lunch and pulled up the Internet.
Looking up the Salem Tourism website, I figured out a quick downtown tour
of buildings we could see, and then it was time to go get them. I quickly
pulled out all of my extraneous junk from the backseat of my Subaru Outback
(I am a student after all, and work two part-time jobs, so I always have
junk, extraneous and not, in my car), and worked on finding their place.
When I pulled up to their apartment complex, I honked and the twins walked
out. Still unable to tell one from the other, I got out and greeted them.
"Hey guys. Thanks for doing this with me. I'm really looking
forward to it. When you live in a place, even a place as historic as
Salem, you take it for granted and don't do all those touristy things. Now
I get an excuse that will give me the opportunity!"
They smiled back and got in the car, still not telling me who was
"So, here are our options." I held up some of the web pages I'd
printed out and watched both of their eyes light up. "I hope you don't
mind that I kind of planned out a couple of short routes that we could do
this afternoon, then we can catch some of the parks tomorrow and the rest
of the historic sites Friday morning."
"Sounds great," Evan or Alex, whichever one was sitting in my front
seat, replied. Damn, there's bound to be a way to tell them apart, besides
looking to see which one hangs on Drew, I thought to myself. But, I was
going to see how long they would go before they told me who was who before
asking. Just for the stupid fun of playing along with their game.
"Can I see the information?" Alex or Evan, whoever was in the back
seat, asked, leaning forward.
"Sure," I replied, handing it back and starting up the car. "Let's
start at the National Park Service Visitor Center, and go from there. I
was thinking that since there are quite a few historic sites right there
together, we could walk up and down Essex Street and see what's open. Some
things may be closed for Thanksgiving holidays, or even for the season.
But some stuff should be open today."
As I drove, Evan and Alex flipped through the printed-out pages and
discussed the options.
"Diana, do you think we might have time to go see this?" Alex or
Evan, my back seat passenger asked a few minutes later.
"What's that," I replied, turning my head as we pulled to a halt at
a stoplight. "Oh, the 'Friendship,' the ship. I have been to that and it's
fabulous. Yes, I think we can do that. Would you rather do that first
just to make sure we have time?"
Both nodded their heads eagerly. I turned right at the light and
headed east towards the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.
When we arrived, a uniformed sailor dressed straight out of the
early 1800's greeted us. I leaned over and whispered to my closer
neighbor, "This reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean," and he chuckled.
"Maybe we could watch that when we get back," he said, shivering
slightly as the wind blew sea spray over us. "I can always watch a good
flick with cute guys and high-seas action," he chuckled. Aha, this was
Evan. I looked over at him closely, comparing him with who I now knew to
be Alex. What about them is different . . . Then the sailor tour guide led
us inside, where it was suddenly much warmer away from the breezes.
As he led us around the various parts of the ship, explaining the
poop deck and the fo'c'stle, the mizzen-mast and the jib, and even how to
tell starboard from port, I continued to observe Alex and Evan, making sure
to watch where each moved so I did not get them confused again. There had
to be something . . .
Watching them so closely, I enjoyed how each was interested in
slightly different tales the tour guide told, and slightly different parts
of the ship. The lower parts of the ship, the sleeping quarters and
cabins, the cargo holds and kitchen, for example, fascinated Alex. On the
other hand, the cannons and sails, the wheel and rudder, and the mechanics
of the whole thing intrigued Evan. Yet both were thrilled as they
whispered back and forth about how this was the sailor's lives for months
on end. I could almost see them signing up to head out to sea given the
chance, just to know what it was like to have such an adventure, if it were
1800 that is. This was very exciting for me, for I was the same way. If I
hadn't been a woman, not allowed on such expeditions, and had lived two
hundred years ago, I might have been right there on that boat too, signing
up to see the world and experience the adventure. But also signing up for
tight quarters, seasickness, and travels far from my home.
So, I thought to myself, at least they have slightly different
interests, and in more than one way, I chuckled, remembering Evan's obvious
affection for Drew as we had sat and chatted last night. But what
physically distinguishes them? I continued to wonder as we wandered.
Suddenly I noticed something, something that just might work. It seemed
that Evan had a little scar on the right side of his chin. Not something
disfiguring or obvious, but just enough that if you knew to look for it,
you would see it there, just the size of a finger-nail tip about halfway
between his lower lip and the bottom of his chin. And Alex seemed to have
a cowlick just above his left ear. He would smooth his hand over his hair
now and then, but that blondish-brownish cowlick would always pop right
back up again, resisting conformity. Would that work? I thought so, as it
was just enough to not be something a stranger would pick out, but enough
of a distinguishing factor that those who knew them could find it right
away. On the other hand, if Evan ever covered his scar with makeup or if
Alex ever slicked down the cowlick, I was in trouble again. But, hopefully
I would know them well enough by then that it wouldn't matter and I would
still be able to distinguish them.
Wait a minute! I stopped myself. Did I just think, "Hopefully I
would know them well enough by then?" Hmm, I think I like these guys. I
really think I do. That bodes well for Drew at least, I chucked to myself,
remembering a recent "Will and Grace(tm)" episode where Will had a new
boyfriend and Grace had to meet him so the boyfriend could meet her
approval. Karen had stated, "If the hag hates 'em, the fag won't date 'em"
and my thought process brought that back to the forefront of my mind. So,
Evan passed, I smiled.
"Whatcha smilin' about?" Alex asked, snapping me out of my reverie.
"You've been wandering around mumbling to yourself for a little bit. I
don't think you even registered the pig-iron discussion the tour-guide and
I got in to. Weren't you fascinated by the properties of the pig-iron used
to weight the ship?" He laughed, and I felt like he was picking on me, but
I didn't feel like I knew him quite well enough yet to be sure.
"Oh, um, pig-iron. Absolutely fascinating stuff, um, I'm sure," I
smiled back at him. "Sorry I didn't pay more attention to that one. I was
thinking that your brother meets my approval for Drew. That's all."
"And what about me," he winked.
"No, you're too straight for him," I laughed back.
"Okay, phew!" He smiled back. "But can I have your approval to
hang out with you?" He flirted. I backed up a little, surprised at his
slight move. I mean, I really liked him, but I was still sore from the
burning that Matt had given me the morning before. I wasn't ready to risk
the fire again so soon. "As friends," he interjected, sensing my
nervousness, totally unaware that it had nothing to do with him. "Nothing
serious, just friends. I'm enjoying your company, and since you and Drew
are buddies, and my brother and Drew, well, you know, I figured we might be
seeing more of each other?"
"Yes, yes, of course we will," I stalled. "I am enjoying our time
today, and definitely want it to continue. Friends then it is," I smiled
finally breaking out of my sudden reflection, then reached out my hand
expecting a shake.
Instead, he took it in his own and bent down. I almost pulled back,
expecting a kiss, but he bent his head and knee, doing a slight bow before
me. "Friends we are," he smiled, standing back up, "And a pleasure it is."
We finished the tour then quickly ran over to the Visitor's Center and
grabbed some pamphlets. The guys invited me to join them for dinner and we
stopped at Arby's for roast-beef sandwiches. As we ate, we eagerly
discussed what we could do next. Not having anything else going on that
evening, I asked if they'd like to rent a movie together, and we went back
to my place (after they assured me they were not allergic too, nor did they
mind cats) and watched Robin Williams and Nathan Lane strut their stuff in
"The Birdcage." Laughing uproariously, I slipped a text message to Drew.
"He meets my approval. Keep this one around for a while. PS. Keep his
brother around too, ;-)"
Almost immediately he sent me one back, "Had fun today? So glad to hear it.
Just don't get them mixed up. See you Friday." I laughed, knowing they
wouldn't let me get them mixed up in the way he probably meant it, they
would keep me straight on who preferred what type of company, and they both
looked over at me.
"What's so funny?" Evan asked, as the movie was in a sort of serious
"Oh, just read a text message from Drew is all. Silly boy." I shared.
"Oh?" Evan replied, blushing slightly. Aww, he blushes as easy as Drew! I
think this one really likes him.
I giggled. "Want me to send him a special note from you?" I joked with
"Tell him 'Hi' and, well, yeah, that we wish he was here."
I did and yet again got another message back. "Aww, did he really say
that? Aww! Tell him I'll look forward to seeing him again Friday, and to
call me later if he wants."
Yet again I shared the message, then added, "Now, no more, you two need to
continue this conversation without me in the middle!"
Alex chimed in, "But that would be so much more fun . . ." and I stuck my
tongue out at him.
Ah, this was going to be an interesting set of friends to add to my already
kooky bunch. I couldn't wait!