Tuesday night again. It’s late, 10:30. I closed tonight. I know Garfield will be complete bonkers when I come home but the garage is very quiet, almost deserted this time of night, and it will feel safe for Maya.
I light up my final cigarette of the day and wait.
“Hello Clara” Maya sounds happy.
“Hi Maya, what’s up?”
Maya tells me about a new book of poetry she’s reading. She really likes it and she’s happy that the poet has written several books which means she has lots of poetry she’s looking forward to reading.
“Maya,” I say keeping my tone gentle, “why don’t you let me see you?”
I can see Maya immediately stiffen but she doesn’t disappear.
“I’m different,” she says “I don’t look like you.”
“I’m different looking, too, Maya. I’m half black and half white. I look different from most people too. There are people who don’t like me because I don’t fit in.”
Then Maya says, “No, Clara,” I don’t look like human people.”
“I think I’ll be OK if I see you Maya. I can tell that you’re different.”
“Maya, are we friends?”
Maya is quiet for a beat then she says, “Yes, Clara I would like you to be my friend.”
“Then if we’re friends, we need to trust each other. I need to see you. If I’m your friend you can let me see you.”
“Would you come back here?” Maya asks.
I moved to the back of the giant pickup truck (which has been parked in the same space for two weeks now).
Maya emerged from the shadows wearing a hoody which read “Somebody in Colorado Loves Me” and pulled down the hood.
I smiled, Maya was certainly more GEICO gecko than terrifying master of the universe lizard. She reminded me of a pet iguana I had during college more than anything.
Maya opened her mouth slightly in what I took to be a smile.
“I don’t scare you?”
“No, you don’t scare me. I think you look kind of cool actually.”
Maya opened her mouth a little wider. I could see tiny sharp teeth. Then she made a low gurgling sound which sounded almost like a cat purring.
“Is that your way of laughing?” I asked her.
“Yesss” she replied.
Maya’s face was considerably flatter than a lizard’s. I assumed this was why she could form words as well as she did.
The sound of a car driving up the garage ramp made Maya pull up her hoody and back into the shadows again.
“I have so many questions to ask you,” I said, “Is there a place we could meet where you feel safer where we could talk more?”
“Do you remember the first time you saw me?” She asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“We can meet there and go somewhere quieter.”
“OK,” I said. “I can meet you Sunday night. I’ll be there a 9:00pm.
Maya nodded. “Yes, five days and four nights, I’ll see you then.”
Lizard Girl – 6