SO THERE’S THIS KNOCK AT OUR HOTEL ROOM DOOR AND SO I GET UP TO ANSWER IT AND THERE’S THIS GUY STOOD THERE, ONLY WEARING THESE REALLY SMALL, TIGHT PINK UNDERPANTS AND THEN HE JUST GOES ‘sorry, wrong door’ AND RUNS DOWN THE CORRIDOR SAYING SORRY.
have you seen tatiana maslany and evelyne brochu
When she first catches sight of the message, scrawled along a bottom corner of her science textbook in purple ink, Delphine assumes it’s been there for at least as long as she’s been alive. The copyright on the book dates back to the sixties, which stands to reason, since by now it’s practically falling apart. The binding is loose, the cover discolored and severely worn, and even the language itself is antiquated. And the inside cover? Lousy with scribbles.
Except, the #27 AP Physics textbook doesn’t exactly belong to Delphine; countless other kids circulate in and out of this classroom on a daily basis, and it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that someone else might have access to it in one of the periods that comes before hers. Not to mention that the ink it’s written with still looks fresh, in a way that the other additions (couples’ names enshrined within hearts, profanity, clumsy renderings of genitalia) no longer do.
What was the biologist wearing on her first date with a hot chick?, it says–an ellipsis, and then: Designer jeans.
Delphine tries to forget about the message, but she can’t help but feel drawn to it–because it makes her laugh, or perhaps because there is something inherently inviting about the big, brightly-colored lettering. And so, anxiously licking her lips, she uncaps her own pen and writes beneath it, in neat, slanting cursive: A biology joke in a physics textbook? That is very contrarian of you.
Sure enough, the next day, an answer comes–distinctive by the ink it’s written with, purple now as it was before: Tough crowd, huh? Okay, how about this: Where does bad light end up?…In a prism.
Delphine claps a hand over her mouth to muffle the laughter that builds, unwarranted. She regards her textbook as the professor drones on, lips compressed, eyes sparkling with mischief–then leans forward to craft her response. I must confess that I am suspicious, she writes, squeezing the words sideways into the little block of space that comprises their conversation. Are you sure you do not have a book of jokes to cheat with?
Okay, you caught me, the reply comes the next day. I have Google on my phone. But c’mon, you totally laughed.
And so it goes.
Throughout this month and into the next, the two keep up a steady stream. It is, Delphine thinks, a very strange method of communication. Neither ever mentions a name, or a class period; neither one gives any indication, in fact, of how to go about finding the other. It isn’t that it never crossed their minds (or Delphine’s, at least the very least); it certainly had. But it seems, always, that there are more important things to discuss.
They share increasingly cheesier jokes, draw makeshift games of hangman and pictionary, devise scavenger hunts that send the players flipping through the book’s pages in search of hidden clues. Sometimes, page numbers are written and circled; they lead to silly drawings, to pictures of scientists with the addition of tongues sticking out, pirate teeth, and hair like the Bride of Frankenstein. And, on days when the workload becomes unbearable, there are answers, and explanations, and charts, that make Delphine’s eyes widen and her lips part with a sudden, grateful rush of understanding.
Perhaps it’s foolish, but Delphine’s heart catches in her throat as she weaves her way through the corridors toward physics on the last day of classes before mid-year break. The odds that the vacation will pass without some kind of upset–a change in teachers, in rooms, in textbooks–are slim to none. And, unlikely and even impossible as it seems, she has come almost to depend on the messages that she finds there each day. Class without them would be, she knows, a terribly empty place–but it goes beyond even that. It’s bigger, somehow, more significant, in a way that she can’t quite quantify. It’s the warmth in anticipation…the reassurance that this unnamed girl with her purple pens and her penchant for horrible jokes is thinking about Delphine, as Delphine is thinking about her.
She’s vaguely considering the prospect of leaving some means of contact (would it seem too forward? would she even call at all?) when she realizes that the girl’s period comes before hers–that it is, already, too late. For the better, she thinks, nodding agreement to a sentiment she does not truly believe, Perhaps it is for the better.
Few students show up to school the day before winter break (knowing full well that nothing of any merit gets done), and the population reflects that. When Delphine reaches physics, a handful of kids cluster together in the far corner of the room, gathered around the flashing screen of an iPad. The teacher is in his seat at the front of the class, deep in conversation with a woman–with a student, but not one Delphine has ever seen before (she would certainly remember, if she had).
She must come, Delphine quickly decides, from the period before–and she’s remained behind to discuss the winter assignment, or a test grade…except the girl is grinning, speaking with fervor and gesturing animatedly with both hands, the many bracelets she wears tinkling musically with the movement. Without warning, the look of passion falls from her face, and flustered realization takes its place. She shoots something that might be a goodbye over her shoulder at the teacher (who shakes his head, eyes rolling affectionately, as though this is behavior to which he is intimately accustomed) and swipes her textbook off the desk.
It happens in an instant: Delphine is walking toward the textbook cabinet, the girl is bolting for the textbook cabinet, and then they’re on the floor. There’s a ringing in Delphine’s ears, and her forehead is throbbing, but she forces her eyes open and rises up on her knees.
“Woah, shit–dude, I’m sorry,” the girl is saying, but Delphine shakes her head (willing away the pain, the conflicting thoughts) and fumbles for the dropped textbook.
"Non, pas de problème," she says, waving away the apology with her free hand. "I am fine. But, ah–your textbook…" Suddenly, Delphine is at a loss for words. She is aware, of course, that half a minute has passed and that she is still kneeling, clutching another girl’s textbook too tightly for comfort–but there, written across the cover in colorful Sharpie, is the number 27.
Their eyes meet, and Delphine is sure–for an anxious, fleeting moment–that something like recognition passes over the girl’s face. But then the moment passes, and she’s hunching over (trying to scoop fallen items back into her knapsack, probably) hands a flurry of movement just outside Delphine’s line of sight. Finally, she stands, accepts the textbook from Delphine’s outstretched hands with a grateful smile, and sets it down atop #28. One second she’s smiling that warm, crooked smile, tipping her head to one side, saying “Thanks, I totally owe you one! Maybe I’ll seeya around?”–and then she’s gone, and Delphine is alone, and baffled, and angry at her own incredible naïveté.
"Miss Cormier?" asks the teacher, glancing up from his desk; she’s the only student still standing. "Is everything alright?"
Delphine nods, a hollow answer, and the weight of #27 feels unwieldy in her hands as she carries it back to her desk.
She almost misses it–the progress of a single square of white paper as it slips out from between the pages of her AP Physics textbook and lands lightly on the ground at her feet.
But she doesn’t. Instead, she glances once over her shoulder at the teacher (preoccupied, now, with more important things) before sinking to her knees, and scooping it into a waiting hand.
A number is scrawled diagonally across the torn piece of looseleaf, and a name, above it: Cosima.
It’s written in purple pen.
I have to work for the next 4 days which means actually getting out of bed and functioning like a normal human.
i know that you’re in pain but if we die at the same time does it still scare you?a march into water - PTV