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i got to work and jane was behind the service desk. i was reading the board for today. christine was on it, with a line drawn through her name. today was the last day that her name would be on the board. sunday starts a new week, and she's on the schedule as being off that whole week, so her name won't be there any more. i thought maybe since jane is the boss, she might know something about this situation, so when she hands me my drawer, i keep reading the board. then i look up at her and ask in my 7-year old voice 'christine's not ever coming back?' jane says 'no, actually, she stole money and got fired.' i sigh and say 'yeah...' like yeah, i knew that... i knew that was the answer. i don't even know why i asked. i just want so badly for her to come back... i miss her so bad...

malik and marie were talking about it today. they were talking about the last time the two of them had worked with christine, and i guess marie and christine were being mean to each other. christine is mean to marie often, and i guess marie was being mean back and christine was getting upset. i don't know. the point is that 7-year old me joins in the conversation. i say 'christine stole money.' marie agrees. i ask her 'why did she do it?' marie talks to me like a child. 'i don't know, loser. nobody knows but her. you would have to ask her.'
'but she's gone,' i say slowly.
marie agrees. i say 'i wish she wouldn't have taken it. or i wish she would have just stolen it from me and then she could still work here.'
marie thinks i mean steal it from my drawer, and tells me then i would get fired. i tell her i mean she could have just stolen my paychecks. she shakes her head. then she says 'if she was stealing, no matter from where, it was going to have to catch up to her someday, you know what i mean, loser?'
i say 'but i wouldn't have even cared, just so she didn't have to leave.'
she says 'it still would have caught up to her, you know what i mean?'
i'm not sure that i know what she means. i'm not sure that i care what she means. i just want christine to be back. but this conversation isn't really helping that anyway, so i just say 'yeah.'

later, marie educated me in the art of identifying winston cigarettes, since the 'light' or 'ultra light' isn't written on the boxes. i still sorta like her, but not that much. i wonder if she ever talks to christine any more. i bet not. i guess she would have known something else to say when we were talking about christine if she still talked to her.

i take up my drawer but forget to bring up my credit slips. i clock out before i remember that i forgot them, so instead of going up to break, i go back to get them. i go up to the service desk, hold them out, and say 'here, i forgot to give you my numbers.' it was terrie. she laughs and says 'loser, you're a trip.' and takes them from me. i am so fascinated by terrie. i watch her now more than i ever watched christine when she was here. it's for a completely different reason, of course... how do you tell if somebody's gay? she teases me a few more times when i say dumb things, but she's laughing and it sort of reminds me of how i always made christine laugh, so i don't mind that much. i think i'm trying to become to terrie what i was to christine, and i'm not sure why. becuase terrie lives with christine? becuase jim said terrie was a lesbian? or just becuase i need a christine substitute, so i don't go crazy missing her?

terrie is funny. terrie has always been funny. she makes people laugh. she cheerfully sings along with the music, or she jokes with malik or laughs with jane. not jane today though. jane doesn't seem to be in a very good mood. there's these two new kids, rashid and david. marie and malik are here too. there's nothing to do, and all 5 of us are standing around and talking and david and rashid are being dumb and marie is laughing and i am standing in the middle of it, trying not to act immature becuase they're being loud enough that i know terrie can hear and i don't think i want her to think i'm like these guys becuase people don't like marie. and people think david is immature. he's only 16 anyway. and i don't know what people think of rashid. and i don't know what terrie thinks of me or what i want her to think of me. all i know is i'm confused. tal bachman comes on. she's so hiiiiiiiigh above me... terrie sings in tune 'this song is so gay...' doesn't that mean jim is wrong? if you were gay, you wouldn't toss that word around like that, would you? i mean, i would, because everyone else does... because i'm in the closet... just because, i don't know. but if you really are gay and you're not me, do you use that word as an insult to other things? like if you're black, you can call other people niggas, and if you're white, you can't get away with that. but that's different. that's sorta like how if a straight person calls a gay guy a faggot, it's a bad thing, but if a gay guy calls another gay guy a faggot, it's ok. but then the same gay guy couldn't turn around and use the word faggot to insult a straight guy, could he? yeah, and if you're black and call your black friend a nigger, you can't turn around and insult a white guy using that word, can you? i don't think so. am i analyzing too much? can you call a song gay and still be gay? why would jim lie about that?

finally it's time for me to leave, and it's past time for the last bus, so i just walk and think...

i got here and i went back to may 8th, and re-read it a million times. at the time i wrote it, i thought terrie suspected and didn't like it. i can't remember clearly though. i don't have anything written down that shows her showing she didn't like it. terrie was the first one, i know. i know i told christine that i didn't like jim like that, and she just accepted as true, and moved on. terrie was definitely the first one who pressed for a reason. does that mean anything? i need to bring up jim again, when terrie is around. i need to watch her more closely this time... what am i watching for? what does a gay person look like if she thinks she's talking to another gay person? i have no idea. i am hopelessly confused. but i'm plotting again. i have to bring up jim when terrie's around. but i can't just bring up jim to terrie. the only people who it really made sense for me to bring up jim to were christine and jane. christine is gone. that leaves jane. so sometime when jane and terrie are there, i have to ask about jim. but watch all the specifics... first, it can't be busy, becuase i have to make sure that terrie can hear and has nothing better to listen to when i'm asking. plus i have to make sure there's time for a conversation to follow, if terrie jumps in. i have to make sure jim's not around. in fact, i should probably make sure that nobody else is really around, to throw the conversation off track. it would probably help if it was late, like sometime that jane and terrie close... like a day exactly like tonight, only tonight i didn't think of it... damn, why do i gotta be one step behind? i pretty much have next week's schedule memorized. i read it while i'm on break and there's no newspaper there, and there hasn't been newspaper in a while. so i know jane and michelle are closing sunday. i know billie closes with jane and maybe michelle on monday, amit (i think) on wednesday, and terrie on friday. the only other day i work is saturday, and i forget who closes. hopefully it's jane and terrie. i'm pretty sure it's not though. i have to wait until it's perfect becuase i'm only going to get one chance, but i can't wait too long or i'll miss my chance... and even after i do this, i'm going to need another plan, and another and another... i don't know where i'm hoping to go with this. i'll tell you where my daydream goes with it. i ask jane if jim still likes me. her answer is irrelevant becuase terrie breaks in 'why, do you like him yet?' and i say no and she asks why, and just like always, i beat around the bush and get uncomfortable and don't really lie but don't tell the truth either. then she asks if i don't want to talk about it and i say i dunno and she says 'just not to me?' and i say i guess not and she says 'how about christine? becuase she knows just as much as me.' and i don't say yes or no but eventually she gets me to agree to it, and i wind up telling christine the truth. becuase that's how every good daydream ends, with me telling christine the truth and her being ok with it. yeah but realistically, where am i hoping to go with this? i have no idea. but somewhere. if there really is a lesbian this close to me, and she really does suspect, then i've got to do something, because this kind of opportunity doesn't just come along every day... but she said a song was gay. maybe next time i see jim, he'll tell me he was just kidding, or do something to further indicate that he was serious. on the schedule, it says he's working tomorrow from 4 a.m-12 p.m. i don't think that's right. i think they mean 4 p.m.-12 a.m., in which case i'll see him tomorrow, but if he really is working when it says he is, then i won't see him again until friday, which is a long time to wait when i only have a month total... what now?