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The Yellow Girl: An Unfortunate Finish to a Youthful Lack of Ambitions.

By KJ Hannah Greenberg


In the end, Linda’s injustice, in falsely accusing a hardware store owner of overcharging, was the cause of her death. So certain was she that the proprietor had given her a different tier of pricing, because of her poor French, that she had tried to draw attention to his wrongdoing by speaking of the alleged crime out loud.

All she had accomplished, though, was to embarrass an innocent man. He shouted at her. In response, she ran into the street and hailed a cab. That cab, in turn, brought Linda to the party where she met Jeremiah. Jeremiah became the first boy Linda “brought home.”

Tabatha was incredibly surprised when Jeremiah stayed for the night. Tabatha’s roommate, prior, had been as innocuous as chewed gum. Up until Jeremiah’s arrival, before dates, Linda usually stood in the center of her and Tabatha’s shared studio apartment ironing jeans or pulling imaginary threads from sweaters. Tabatha believed that in Linda’s mind “men” were fathers and grandfathers and peers were “little boys.” Linda seemed to know nothing about intimacies.

As Linda rubbed her beau’s back, Tabatha shot fresh, dirty looks at the couple. Loudly, Tabatha banged her overnight bag as she made her way out of the apartment. Tabatha had expected her roommate to remain the pliable young woman who would have to take frequent exits, not vice versa.

Meek Linda, ironically, was the one, among the two young women, who was acquainted with how to touch people in helpful ways. She could unknot a shoulder, take the strain from a neck, or release a leg cramp. Jeremiah, whom Linda had found in a corner of the party host’s veranda, moaning over a work injury, was better soothed by five minutes of Linda’s administrations than by months of naturopath visits. Additionally, Linda’s voice sounded like birdsong.

Subsequently, Jeremiah proposed that Linda apply her skills to more private of his physical needs. Linda agreed, having detected affection in his attempt to seduce.

Paradoxically, whereas Jeremiah had intended only sex and Linda had hoped for a boyfriend, within days of making each other’s acquaintance, the urban herdboy was convinced that he had found his wife and the intuitive healer was ready to run for the hills.

To Jeremy, Linda’s fingers were as honest as were the syllables in his rap. Her eyes were as profound as were his longings for fresh canvas. All that remained, in his mind, to ensuring that he be able to obtain a lifetime of bliss was convincing his girl (and her parents) that they should wed.

Jeremiah pulled out a tattered reefer cigarette. He puffed as Linda stroked. Though Linda refused his habit, except for what she inhaled second hand, he felt no anger; he would glisten from the loveliness of the herb whether or not she imbibed.

Similarly, Jeremiah experienced no resentment over the swanky address of Linda’s family. Jeremiah was good with the Sheppard puppies he bred and with the vegetable trucks he unloaded. Linda could have college as long as he could have Linda.

Linda, on the other hand, struggled to accept that her parents had let alone in their parlor with a young man who was as perky as she was dolorous. Unbelievably, they trusted her in isolation with a fellow who overfed his friends on stuffed jalapenos and who insisted that the tastiest spritzers were concocted from dry, white wine and Dr. Pepper. Furthermore, he sold, for profit, entire litters of tiny, spiny mammals, and he earned good money working overtime among eggplants.

Although her massage sufficed to keep his limbs in order and although she daily made Jeremiah neat, crustless sandwiches, Linda had a poor understanding of why they were an excellent twosome. Couldn’t her parents see that she had stopped wearing “exciting” accessories such as blue mascara, hand-painted tights, and two inch heels?

Devoid of parental guidance, Linda found herself flying, that summer, to Canada “for a waitressing job.” Her child’s father enrolled in night school; suddenly, an engineering degree had become very attractive to Jeremiah.

A short time afterward, the still toking Jeremy met Linda at the airport with a stone-encrusted ring. Theirs was a quiet ceremony.

Thereafter, when not occupied with work or with studies, Jeremiah attended to his lady love. Though she manipulated the locked portions of his limbs less frequently than before, he invested more time into wooing her. He lasered mundane greetings onto their bedroom wall and tucked sentimental notes into the bouquets of reduced price flowers he brought home. What’s more, he began to share with Linda witticisms, which he considered uplifting, such as “an affordable education at a good school makes for a better college experience than does a financially-stressing education at an excellent school,” or such as “a humble wife, from a good family makes for a better spouse than an arrogant wife from the wrong side of the tracks.”

When they were at last able to afford a one bedroom apartment, Jeremy built an insulated hibernaculum on its patio and purchased additional varieties of hedgehogs. He meant to be able to afford fine things for his wife.

“Spouses tame each others’ awkward habits” was the axioms that broke her, however.

Contrary to Jeremy’s saliva-driven displays of obsequiousness, Linda felt disconnected. It was not so much that she required more exacting forms of worship but that she believed her husband hadn’t a clue.

For instance, just before Jeremy had impregnated her, Linda had experienced a wonderful kiss. She had mashed lips with the captain of her college’s debate team. That caress of faces, wicked, yet scrumptious, had channeled from Linda all manners of pent frustration. The first was also the last kiss, though for that varsity squad nerd had wanted more.

As soon as he tried to grope Jeremy’s girl, Linda had bitten him and had kneed him where it counts. Rumor spread that her attack permanently compromised one of his testicles. Whereas by the time Linda wed Jeremiah, that contender had been reduced to historical fiction. It was also the case that throughout Jeremy detected nothing; he remained either trustworthy or dense or both.

Worse, Jeremiah failed to realize that Linda loathed him for his gift of driving. She hated getting behind a wheel and hated, even more, feeling good that she could. Before the advent of Jeremy, Linda was a content underachiever. For twenty plus years, her parents and siblings had bestowed the relatively safe role of scapegoat on her. In less than twenty months, Jeremy was insisting that she give it back. Had Jeremy not been so reverential, she would have died in happy denial.

More dreadful still was that Jeremy was adamant that they sleep without cloths because he wanted constant access to her skin. Unlike Linda’s mother, who called her “Chicken Legs,” her sister and brother, who called her “The Frump,” or her father who only called her when he wanted her to pass him a cold beer, Jeremy acclaimed Linda. When he came home late from work or school and found his beloved asleep in an old, flannel gown, he roared.

Linda tried infusing patience into her wifely duties. She read books about marital harmony, and tuned into shows focused on the need to share responsibility in relationships. To Tabatha, Linda admitted releasing a certain level of meticulousness in housekeeping.

She expressed, as well, to that dear friend, her frustration with Jeremy’s disinterest in shopping except for when he needed pencils of hedgehog food. She said nothing to her former roommate, however, of how hard it was for her to accept an adoring spouse.

Tabatha suggested mediation classes, mountain biking, taking on a lover, or all three. Linda joined a Yoga for Mommies course, as she was pregnant again, pedaled on a stationary bike at a nearby gym, and allowed her lust to find its fulfillment in her surreptitious stash of beefy movie star pinups.

She found additional ways, as well, before the liver disease caught her, to morph into a virtuous wife. She trimmed Jeremy’s toenails for him, shopped for their baby’s layette by herself, and began to replace her pantry full of French cookery seasonings with items which accommodated high fiber, low fat dishes. Also, on Jeremy’s next birthday, she wore only a ribboned chocker to bed.

Nonetheless, during her third trimester, Linda developed gestational diabetes. Shortly after birthing their daughter, Linda scored poorly on several enzyme tests. When the course of methotrexate, which her doctor prescribed, counterindicated breastfeeding, Jeremy added midnight bottles to his rooster of helpfulness.

Despite the mindful management of her case, including, ultimately, parenteral feeding, Linda continued to sicken. Her face became jaundiced. Her arms, legs and trunk turned yellow. Her stool changed to yellow, as did her sweat and tears. Too soon, her care providers suggested she talk to clergy. Linda’s liver disease was looking increasingly atypical.

Her hepatic challenges ended one of the days when her parents were watching their daughter and when Jeremy was taking finals. Linda instigated her own solution by locking herself a freezer at Benton and Son's Meats.

The local university granted Jeremy an extension on his finals. Linda’s parents took over guardianship of Linda and Jeremy’s daughter. Tabatha married a man twenty years her senior. The hedgehogs continued to multiply.


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