Isaac Asimov, Part II
The Foundation book has been returned to its rightful owner; balance in the galaxy has been officially restored! But, as in any decent science fiction thriller, this ending was not achieved without a few bumps and twists in the delivery. (Concluding with that painful double-negative.)
I arrived at Mrs. Joyce’s classroom 10 minutes before class began, hoping to avoid the few extra students that would soon arrive and constitute a “cluster”, which was not what I had envisioned surrounding Jonah and my first post-break-up exchange. Thus, in my mind, the idea of the book delivery was shrouded in a sort of swaggy secrecy, as though I was about to slip Jonah 10 grams of marijuana.
Yet, with every passing minute, the dim New Jersey street corner of my imagination quickly reverted back to the vinyl composition tiles that line the floor of the English room. And still, my client was nowhere to be found.
So 45 minutes later, when all others had presented and Mrs. Joyce asked if anyone knew the book that Jonah had wanted to share with the class, I impulsively put up my hand. And, as a consequence, was roped into presenting the science-geek’s-saga myself.
Mrs. Joyce ushered me to the front of the classroom with a swift pat on the back. In an instant, I took a breath and set all phasers to bullshit. But as soon as I opened my mouth to speak, I spotted Rosalynd looking up at me from the back of the classroom, long auburn hair draped slyly over one eye.
Her face was all contempt.
My surprise was further ignited by the fact that, other than a name, I didn’t really know her at all. I knew that she and Jonah have been friends since kindergarten, and that last year he asked her to be his girlfriend. She refused.
The only interaction I have ever had with Rosalynd occurred at the Lead Party three weeks ago. She brought Jonah with her, apparently with the intention of using him as a safety net; Rosalynd ended up getting so drunk that she started crying and throwing up into a wastebasket, which she affectionately dubbed “cuppy”, leaving Jonah to take care of her. I saw a flash of her through a half-opened door looking extremely pathetic when Jonah shooed me away gravely, saying, “She doesn’t want you to see her like this.”
At the time, I was surprised by the personal nature of the request. She didn’t want ME to see her like this? She had never even spoken to me before! But now, I think I understand.
As I stood at the front of the room, gesticulating madly about space aliens and the science of psychohistory, I noticed that look on her face. It spoke louder than if she were to come up and actually introduce herself to me. Louder than if she were to tell me, in prose, exactly how she felt about me. Louder still than if she were to read me excerpts from her private journal.
It said, “I am in love with Jonah Mitchell.”