A couple of days later I was talking with Soup Boy. Soup Boy is certainly popular with the ladies, and has a healthy and active social life. He was bugging me about working fourteen hours every day and not getting out and meeting people. In my own defense I mentioned my encounter at De Brug. I started to describe her, but I didn’t get far.
“Black hair down to her butt?” Soup Boy asked.
“Yeah, ” I said.
“I know her. Damn, it’s a small town. She’s a trip. And she’s hot.”
“She just broke up with her boyfriend,” I said.
“Yeah, we spent the afternoon disparaging North Carolina. He sounded like a real goober.”
“I never could figure out what she saw in that guy.”
“Well, she’s not seeing it any more.”
The conversation continued like that for a while, mostly at Goober’s expense. I wondered if I would hear from her again about her writing. She had said her life could fill ten books, and from what I heard from Soup Boy, she might not have been exaggerating.
Two days later Soup Boy and I were on a tram, and he says, “I have some gossip for you. It’s about Cleo.” It took me a moment to figure out who Cleo was, but then I was all ears. “I was at a party last night,” he said, “and I thought she might be there. I asked about her and they said she was in the hospital.”
“Not the hospital, really, the psycho ward. I guess she’s kind of freaking out about her boyfriend.” She had seemed sad when I met her, but hardly freaking out. Still, people keep things inside. Then Soup Boy dropped the bomb. “Apparently she stabbed herself pretty seriously, a couple of times.”
Not even ‘holy cow’ could convey what I felt then, so I didn’t say anything at first. Eventually conversation turned to the futility of grand gestures of desperation, the fleeting nature of life, Soup Boy’s ex-girlfriends, and what a goober Goober was.
I understand her stay in the hospital was brief, but I have not heard from her since. I hope she does write her ten volumes, and I hope writing them brings her peace.