the pearl

12th Of June

"And all that I need now
Is someone with the brains
And the know-how
To tell me what I want...

She returns ten years later, on the same bus she left on.

You wish you could say that a lot has changed, but it really hasn't. You dated Josh for a bit, because it seemed like the thing to do. Even moved in with him, both of you working your minimum wage jobs and spending your evenings in front of the TV, just because there wasn't anything else to do.

It was only the inevitable pregnancy scare that got you to leave him. A minute of sitting on the toilet, staring at the little plastic stick, and wondering what Enid would do. You packed your stuff up the next day.

You wish you could say that a lot has changed, but you think the only things that've changed are the amount of assholes in the world and the stupid fashions they wear. You're assistant manager of a coffeehouse, but that just means that all the assholes get directed to you when they want to complain.

She returns on the same bus she left on, but you don't find out until three weeks later.


The guy who runs that bookstore — the one who used to sell Enid tapes and zines, the guy whose name you can't remember because you've been calling him "The Shit" for so long, and, besides, he never talks to you, choosing, instead, to order his espresso from whoever is the newest and the youngest girl at your place, just so he can leer at her while he waits — he comes in during your shift and instead of heading straight for the counter and the giggly 16-year-old behind it, he looks for you.

"Your girlfriend's back in town," he says, his narrowed piggish eyes looking away from you.

"Huh?" You blink a few times, partially because he's actually talking to you rather than muttering profanity when you tell him to leave the girls alone.

"Enid. Saw her yesterday." He pauses, licking his lips. "So you and her are gonna get right back together for some Aryan/Jew sapphism, hmm?"

You would kick him out for that if he said it about any of the other girls. Instead, you blink a few more times before finally saying the only thing you're thinking. "Enid?"

"Jesus, I knew this place liked to stick its corporate cock where your brain would be, but I didn't think you were that stupid. Yes. Enid. Jew girl, changed name, glasses, egotistical little cunt? She's back in town. She walked past the store yesterday and didn't even stop to say 'Hi'. The bitch."

You nod, mutter some vague affirmation, and turn away. He stares at you, shrugs, and walks away.

Enid's back in town. That's all you can think about.


You spend a full day trying to figure out what to do. Enid's dad's phone number sits in your open address book, next to the phone, ready and waiting.

You don't call. You go over there instead.

The house hasn't changed in ten years — her dad keeps up the house nice enough, the lawn always on the edge of needing a trim, the house always on the edge of needing to be painted, the flowerbeds always on the edge of needing weeding. Nothing noticeably in need of repair, but nothing new either.

You take a breath. You knock on the door. You take another breath.

The door opens slowly, and it's that woman — the wife Enid always hated, but that her father loved enough to get back together with. She looks at you and smiles. "Rebecca!" she says cheerfully, as if you come over every Sunday for dinner.

You smile and make small talk for five seconds before you ask for Enid. She invites you in, but you can't go in. Not yet anyway. You say you'll wait out here.

You wait for five minutes.

When Enid comes to the door, it's like ten years haven't passed. Her hair is still black, her glasses are still plastic, her clothes are still the same mish-mash of thrift store chic.

She opens the screen door, and you see that there have been changes.

There's a woman behind her, a woman with her arms around her waist. A woman who looks at you and straightens, the original language of the primates, the entire "this is mine" stance while Enid smiles and talks to you and doesn't realize what is happening behind her.

You nod and try to smile and try to have a conversation. It ends up being really short, and with a vague "Yeah, we should get together sometime," you walk away.

You don't burst into tears until you're at home. And you're still not sure why you're crying.


She's returned, and it's ten years later. You wish you could say that a lot has changed, but nothing really has.

She still makes you cry at night, like a confused eighteen-year-old girl, because you don't have a fucking clue what this sinking feeling in your chest is, and you don't know why the sight of her with a another woman makes you feel like it's the end of the world.

This Ghost World story was written by Kate Bolin. If you liked it, there's plenty more at And you can feedback her at