Eleanor (Elinor?) and Margaret meet each other on my bus ride from New York to Amherst. Margaret has blonde hair with blue streaks and a purple water bottle and shitty, ragged cutoffs that were probably expensive. She spends the first hour of the trip drawing before she and Eleanor/Elinor say anything to one another. Eleanor/Elinor has very long brown hair and glasses and is the kind of thin that makes me think her life is at least a little bit easy. She tells Margaret that she goes to a small college in Ohio, it’s very small, you’ve probably never heard of it. Oberlin? Margaret has heard of it. (I don’t say anything, because everyone I knew there is long gone, and because it wouldn’t make a difference, other than to show Eleanor/Elinor that I am a very old person.)
Eleanor/Elinor and Margaret talk about New York City (“I always just think something should happen to me there,”) summer plans (“I was going to learn French, but then…Netflix…”), graduate school (“I don’t want to have to go into debt for it,”) and having kids. (Eleanor/Elinor : ”If I had one right now, it would ruin my life.” Margaret: “You never know.”)
Margaret is getting off the bus in Hartford. I wonder if they’re going to exchange emails or something, but Margaret just says, “It was nice to talk with you.” She crosses the street, the pocket of her backpack opened and lolling like a tongue. She gets into a green minivan with a woman in the driver’s seat.
We pull out of Hartford and onto the highway where I crashed my car when I was nineteen. Eleanor/Elinor has a whole seat to herself now. She’s reading.