Trevor disappeared in Angelina’s station wagon, leaving Brian wondering if he even had a driver’s license.
Before moving to Jamaica, Trevor had acquired a North Carolina driving license after his third road test in Brian’s battered old Honda. That night, Brian offered him the car—he wasn’t using it. Trevor thought he was driving west toward the Smokey Mountain National Park, a few miles away. Only when Trevor saw the road signs for Raleigh did he turn around, however. Brian remembered him staggering in at dawn. “Oil?” Trevor had rubbed his eyes. “It had plenty of gas.”
The sun had already risen as high as when Brian usually returned from his trail run. He closed his eyes against the glare.
He didn’t want to ask Angelina why Trevor was driving her car, and why was he dressed in a shirt, tie, and UNC cap?
Asking her that would make Brian feel foolish. Because Brian was foolish.
Responsible, reasonable, keep-on-trying Brian worried over details he couldn’t control. Sticking to common sense rather than mysticism—one of Trevor’s tendencies—Brian typically succumbed to more anxiety and speculation than any crackpot doomsayer. He knew that.
He craved Trevor’s presence. Even though Brian hated Trevor’s willful innocence and penchant for myth-making, he loved how much Trevor trusted him. And like a father but more so, he loved it when Trevor succeeded. When Trevor was right and Brian was wrong—Brian beamed from head to toe, drunk with pride. No doubt this benefited neither of them. Brian deserved to succeed in his own right. He worked hard. He struggled against despair and squeezed deep pleasure from minuscule, natural miracles.
Whereas Trevor found beauty wherever he looked and invested sorrow with sacred significance. Trevor created joy as naturally as Brian breathed.
And while Brian counted his blessings, Trevor celebrated his.
Carla said that if you listened to Trevor from another room, you realized he didn’t sing or play the guitar especially well. But he adored the legend of Bob Marley and performed his songs with passionate abandon and clarity.
Unable to hit upon what was wrong with asking Angelina about Trevor, Brian opened his car door. Why must some super power—as if Brian was stepping in to save the day—accompany his inquiry?
Out of the car, blinking in the bright sunlight, Brian discovered Angelina and her on-again, off-again partner Joan on the porch. After Trevor had renamed Nancy Angelina, she no longer dressed like a lumber jack. Instead, she covered her square body with black leotards and white, airy smocks.
“Hey, Brian,” she called from the porch. “Grab a rocking chair and join us.”
She was braiding Joan’s long, wispy hair into tiny plaits festooned with glass beads, threaded with little blue feathers.
Shy and bird-like, Joan gazed directly at Brian, something he wasn’t sure she had done before. She was wearing a loose peasant blouse tucked into a tiered skirt and cinched with a tooled leather belt, instead of her customary black layers. Joan said, “Guess what Trevor named me.”
Guess? “Well, Emily? Bonnie?”
“Bonnie’s kinda close,” Angelina said. “Good for you. Even Trevor found her so elusive it took him a few days, which it never does.”
“Polly,” Joan said. “Call me Polly from now on.”
Angelina explained that she agreed with Trevor’s theory that we all have several names and some come closer to our secret, true name than others.
“I’ve heard him say that,” Brian said, “since he returned from Jamaica.”
“He claims that Trevor’s close enough for him. And he can’t rename you—you being so close.”
“Carla?” Brian asked. He wasn’t ready to call her Cleopatra.
“Carla suits her. Guess what he said your mother’s name was?”
“I can’t imagine.” The idea of Trevor and their mother bothered Brian enough so that he didn’t even try to disguise it.
The women giggled. “Mommy.”
Brian grinned with relief. And quietly asked, “Where was Trevor off to, in your car, Angelina?”
“We’re raising capital, for two extra cabins, the decks, and sliding glass doors.”
“You’ve lived here all your life, Angelina. Your parents and grandparents lived here. And you sent Trevor to the bank for a business loan?”
“Oh no, I’m not paying interest in this economy. Trevor helped me with my inventory and last night I phoned a few trusted friends, who will be happy to see him. The shirt and tie are to ward off the cops. An extra measure, since I’ve already talked to the chief who went to school with me. He knows Trevor’s driving my car as my employee.”
Brian nodded. Of course. Hadn’t he already known this? And knowing this, he didn’t need to know if Trevor possessed a driver’s license or what kind of car insurance Angelina’s car carried. That’s why he shouldn’t have asked.
(Click here to read the next episode)