I’ve written many stories about Martha’s Vineyard; the special and unique aspects of life there. No matter how often I think back to life there, something else pops into my head. I think about how impossible that aspect would be anywhere else.
Such is the story of Little Miss Nobody. I guess I really shouldn’t call her that; after all, she did have a name. I just never knew it.
We met one day at the “Flying Horses,” when I was a teenager. She looked to be about eight. We just hung out together. I’d play a video game or a pinball machine, and she’d watch and cheer me on. Later, she went off to ride the carousel and I headed home. I don’t think a single word had passed between us the whole afternoon.
A few days later, we chanced to see each other at the video arcade on Circuit Ave. I was with some friends. She was with her parents. We made no contact.
Over the course of the summer, we saw each other around town and even at the beach. When the summer ended, my dad and I went home to Florida, and she faded from my memory, until the following summer. Once again, we chanced to see each other around town, and just smiled and gave each other a nod of recognition. All during that second summer, we would see each other at various locations. If we were alone, we’d hang out, and yet never spoke directly to each other. It was as if there was an unspoken rule that we were “just friends”; we could never see each other outside the context of the video arcade.
We truly shared the video arcade. My nephew wondered how I could be so good at Pac-Man and some of the other games we played. Well, I got a lot of practice
For the next five to six years, that’s how our “relationship” continued. We never even learned each other’s name, but we still knew each other. At the start of each summer, she seemed to seek me out, usually at the arcade, and she was my little cheering section as I zapped aliens or blasted missiles from the sky. Always there was the exchange of smiles, the nods, and her eyes seemed to brighten at the sight of me
Then, right as I was going off to college, she was gone. I no longer saw her around. Maybe her family had moved away, or they couldn’t come to the island anymore. The point is I never saw her again. Despite, not knowing her, I couldn’t help but miss her.
I like to think that she’s enjoying a good life now. She must be close to forty now. I do wonder if she’s been to the island in the intervening years. I’m willing to bet she has; that place has a way of weaving itself into a person’s soul.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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