Darlene Esper

Darlene Esper

If only Gracie had never left Starvation...

I watched Darlene staring into the pillow. I felt for her. She and Gracie went back as far as Soupy and I did. As little girls, they’d combed each other’s hair, painted on each other’s makeup, wore each other’s clothes. When Gracie was on one of her extended stays at our house, she’d often go next door to sleep at Darlene’s. I could still picture them sitting knees-to-knees in their one-piece bathing suits on the dive raft in front of the house, the last of the day’s sun bathing their tan shoulders, them waving their arms, leaning back to giggle, chattering about whatever they chattered about.

I thought I knew what Darlene was thinking: If only Gracie had never left Starvation, maybe she would have been all right.