Sally introduced her to us as Jemima Bobo, Jem for short. I was pretty sure she wasn’t in the pancake business, and I was certainly in no position to make fun of anyone’s name, but I was surprised to find that Kit didn’t react, either.
We found an out-of-the-way table where the two grown-ups could chat without scaring the horses, and Sally sent us off to fetch drinks. My partner-in-waitressing was happy for the excuse to leave, which puzzled me. “What’s up with you, Kit? You’re acting like you’ve seen a dark-but-extremely-friendly ghost.”
“It’s just, I’ve never actually seen a… colored person up close before, much less spoken to one. How did you do it so naturally?”
“Wow, if you were any whiter, you’d be Canadian. Relax, they’re just people, no better or worse than any other sort. Get to know this one, and you’ll never think about it again.”
She looked at me like I was handing down the wisdom of the ages, which was definitely a new experience for me. This day was turning out to be full of them.
By the time we returned with drinks for four, Kit had her shit together enough to hand Jem her coffee with a smile and a minimum of awkwardness. Good girl; I decided to keep her.
I didn’t know what they’d been up to without us, but while Sally and Jem were chatting politely like casual acquaintances, their body language screamed Very Close Friends. Had I guessed wrong about the reason Sally wasn’t interested in all the men sniffing after her? Was her weird secret sex toy a bicycle built for two?
I considered the logistics of cookies-and-cream adult sleepovers, and how Sally might try to explain it away to her sweet innocent ward, and the ironic hilarity sent hot cocoa up my nose. Napkins and hankies were quickly deployed to clean me up, adding further to my new-experience collection. I’d never been fussed over before. Fought over, of course, usually arranged by me, but this was… different. I kind of liked it.
Still, note to self: do not mix chocolate and sex. No, wait, do mix them, just don’t do one while imagining someone doing the other. Pretty sure that one’s commutative.
Jemima Bobo was the name of my great-great-great-great-grandmother (we never met). It was one of those names that just jumped off the page when we were sorting through family trees. Bobo is an old French surname that was spelled in a variety of ways even before people immigrated to the US. In our family, you have to go back before 1650 to find something that “looks more French”, her great-great-great-grandfather Gabriel Baubeau.
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