Eva's Journey

Eva's Journey by Judi Curtin

Book: Eva's Journey by Judi Curtin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Judi Curtin
she was quite happy to be on her own, and I even though I couldn’t really understand it, I began to admire her independence.

    The next Saturday, I went to the market even earlier than usual. Ruby looked surprised, but she didn’t say anything. As the day went on, she never got exactly talkative, but we did chat a bit. It turned out that she was quite funny – in her own very, very quiet way.
    After a few hours, I’d just finished serving a niceold man, when I looked up and saw something that shook me for a second. It was Emily, one of my old friends from The Abbey. She was with a girl I didn’t know.
    â€˜Hey, Emily,’ I said without thinking – without remembering that Emily hadn’t contacted me for months.
    Emily turned. She looked at me for a long time.
    â€˜Oh, hi,’ she said in the end.
    â€˜So how’s it––?’ I began, but she was already walking away.
    â€˜Who was that?’ asked the girl with Emily.
    â€˜Oh, no one. Just someone I sort of knew a very long time ago.’
    I felt a sudden flare of anger.
    She said I was no one.
    How dare she?
    I sat next to her for two whole years.
    I invited her to my birthday party.
    She ate three slices of my birthday cake.
    Suddenly I realised that the banana I was holding was squashed to a pulp in my clenchedfist.
    Then I felt a gentle hand on my arm. Ruby took the squashed banana from my hand and put it in the bucket of damaged stuff that she saves as pig food.
    â€˜Know what?’ she said quietly. ‘That girl should cop on to herself and make a bit more effort with her appearance.’
    I looked at Emily who had stopped at a stall nearby.
    â€˜But she…’ I began before I noticed the wicked smirk on Ruby’s face.
    â€˜You’re joking,’ I said and Ruby nodded.
    I looked at Emily in her turquoise high heels, which matched her turquoise handbag, which matched her turquoise eyeshadow, which matched her turquoise nail varnish, which matched her turquoise belt, which matched her … well you get the idea. Emily was dressed for the Teen Choice Awards, not a Saturday morning in the market. She looked totally ridiculous – and that made me very, very happy.
    I grinned at Ruby, but she had already turned away to tidy the vegetables.

    When the market was over, I helped Ruby to close up the stall.
    Once again, she gave me a huge bag of fruit and vegetables.
    Once again she refused the five euro that I offered her.
    But this time she didn’t vanish as soon as the bag of food was safely in my arms. We stood together outside the locked-up shed. Ruby looked embarrassed, and that made me feel embarrassed too.
    I’d never before spent so much time in the company of someone so strange – or someone I knew so little about.
    â€˜I’d better go home,’ I said in the end.
    â€˜Wait,’ she said.
    I waited, but for a long time, nothing happened, except that Ruby’s cheeks turned from pale pink to deeper pink and then to a strong darkred that matched her name perfectly. Then she was muttering, ‘I got you something.’
    She put her hand into her pocket and then removed it, holding her closed fist towards me.
    I wondered what she wanted to give me. The thing I wanted right then was a big pile of fifty euro notes, or the winning ticket for that night’s lottery, and there wasn’t much chance Ruby was going to give me either of those.
    This girl was so weird I half expected her to say that she was giving me her pet slug.
    â€˜I’ve noticed that you like purple,’ she said.
    Not a slug, so.
    Maybe it was a very pretty grape or a squashed-up flower.
    I love getting presents, but I couldn’t bring myself to look forward to this one.
    I rearranged the bag of fruit and vegetables so that it was propped up on my hip, held steady with my left hand. Then, very slowly and cautiously, I stretched out the open palm of my right hand.
    Very slowly and

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