I was so young then that I didn´t really notice how beautiful Georgine was.
She was an orphan who had been adopted by a rich lady without children. They lived with the woman´s common law husband, a Brazilian fellow who stood six feet tall and had cold blue eyes and a tuft of white hair over his forehead and who I imagined was a wanted war criminal, although the chances of that were scarce.
I lived in the North wing of a Texas ranch style mansion which the lady, whose name was Lana, owned in Long Island, outside of pretty Port Washington. I had been employed to take care of the eighteen woolly poodles which Miss Lana Worthman owned. It was my duty to pluck out the tics that stuck to the dogs by the dozens during their frolicking around the vast terrain surrounded by forests belonging to the house. I was attending school in Port washington at the same time.
The house interior had a plush but fading sort of beauty. Everything seemed withered and had a ghostly kind of charm. In the vastr, but low ceilinged living room. stood an old white piano, with a vase on it which held many yellow roses, long dead. Georgine sat at that piano everyday. The light from large window panes fell on her face, lit up heIsr green eyes, her caramel, blondish hair. She smiled. A beautiful sad smile. She was sixteen then. I was seventeen.
At any given time, Georgine and I could be very near each other inside the mansion, and I always was aware of the long absences of the owners, and therefore of the possibility of getting together with Georgine without being reprimanded. But we didn´st seek each other out at all. We both thought that it was fine to be alone in the house, and not so fine to have to talk to one another when we met by chance. To Georgine, I was the kid who took care of the dogs. To me, she was a weird girl who didn´t really belong anywhere. Really, a little ghost who lived in the remotest recesses of the old house. Her adoptive parents didn´t really pay much heed to her presence there.
I had a room of my own. A nice room with oaken walls, a line of narrow windows with trees in front, and with a beautiful colonial type writing desk at which I sat to write poetry sometimes.
I used to want to be a poet then. One evening, as I lay in bed reading, but really falling asleep, I was starteld by a light sound and a soft motion of the bed. Georgine was sitting by my side, Her eyes were wide and wild, as if she was afraid of me, yet staring at me fixedly. She was wearing a light sleeveless pink blouse and short faded denims. Her hair fell heavy with curls on her lithe shoulders.
After a long silence, she said: " you´re the only one here and even if I don´t like you I can only tell you what´s going on"
She moved her long legs closer to mine, until we were touching.
"So what´s going on?" I asked her.
"The guy my stepmother lives with. The Brazilian. He is out to kill her and get her fortune"
"How do you know?"
"It just makes sense. When he is driving the car he makes sure he startles her now and then, hoping she´ll have a heart attack, an infarction of the myocardium, it´s called. She´s got a week heart. A bad heart, in fact"
There was a gold green shimmer coming in through the windows as the light was filtered through the folliage outside. It was almost fall. Georgine was pressing her hard thighs tight agaisnt my own. She rested her right hand on my forearm, almost caressing me. Her face was so close to mine now that I could feel her hair tickling my cheek. Her breathing was audible in the cool silence. I thought I might have to kiss her, and felt a wave of panic.
" He doesn´t have to get away with it. You and I can become lovers, and kill him before he kells her, Then we will get married and that´s that"
"Of course. One needs to be married, doesn´t one?"
As suddenly as she had come in, she got up from the bed and took off. I was left in confusion.
I thought I heard her laughter as she moved into the depths of the house, but perhaps I was imagining.
From that time on, I thought about georgine all the time.
Especially when I was removing tics from the dogs with a pair of small pliers, and heard them explode into a bubble of blood , I thought about Georgine and what she had told me.
Yet the days went on in a sort od pleasant, silent stupefaction. Fall came and the woods around the house went crazy with warm hues, ochre, yellow, pink, red. I rode my bike into the woods and felt I was moving though a fairy realm. Sometimes I would find little lakes of such an intense blue that they seemed unreal. I sat on the shores of these waters knowing that the calm and happiness could not be forever, that the golden solitude would not last.
At the end of that automn Miss Lana Worthman suffered a fatal heart attack. Her Brazilian common law husband seemed to disappear into thin air. He was not even present at the funeral. I teturned to Canada , to be with my parents while finishing school. And Georgine remained, in my mind, a sort of spirit that came and went, somtimes very distant, other closer.
A lot of years later I visited the house in Long Island. It was totally delapidated, overgrown with ivy, the roof collapsed and all the windows boarded up. It hadn´t been sold. I felt a need to break into the building and walk around inside, in the dark, looking for her, for Georgine.
But that would have been absurd.