Sundays With Ingrid
Cracked-Up Katie was well within smelling range. She smelled like Grampy: cigarettes and booze.
“Little girlie, totally lost,” she said. “Or else running away from home. Is that it? You running away from home?”
“No,” said Ingrid, fighting the urge to back up a step.
Cracked-Up Katie squinted down at her. “Bet you are,” she said. “Bet your whole life’s hit the fan and you’re taking off. I’m a real good guesser.” She stuck the sunglasses in her piled-up hair. “Or used to be,” she said, her voice a lot quieter all of a sudden. She glanced around. Her gaze fell on the Coke can. She stepped into the gutter and scooped the can into her shopping bag automatically, like an assembly-line veteran; a shopping bag, Ingrid noticed, that came from Lord & Taylor. “You a Coke person or a Pepsi person?” said Cracked-Up Katie.
Fresca was Ingrid’s drink, but she said, “Pepsi.”
“Me, too,” said Cracked-Up Katie. “Plus rye. What’s your name, sister?”
Ingrid knew better than to give her name to strangers, especially strangers like Cracked-Up Katie. On the other hand, she had to say something. But what?
“Forgotten your name?”
“No,” said Ingrid. Who could forget Ingrid? Ingrid, a name that might as well have been Geek, Dork, or Loser, a name she absolutely hated, inspired by a long-ago movie star in Mom’s all-time favorite movie, Casablanca, curse it forever. Why couldn’t Mom have fallen in love with something starring Drew Barrymore? Drew Levin-Hill: cool, essence of. But no. When she was eight, Ingrid had finally thought up a nickname, but it hadn’t caught on. Nicknames, she learned, were something others had to give you.
“Then what is it?” said Cracked-Up Katie. “Your name.”
Had to say something, real name out of the question, no fake names coming to mind except Miss Stapleton from The Hound of the Baskervilles. “Griddie,” said Ingrid.
Cracked-Up Katie’s expression grew thoughtful, her forehead wrinkling, pushing ridges of dried pancake makeup out of the furrows. “Griddie,” she said. “Cool. Mine’s Katherine, but you can call me Kate.” She held out her hand. Ingrid shook it.
Surprise. The only person who’d ever bought into her nickname turned out to be Cracked-Up Katie. And a second, smaller surprise: how cold her hand was.
From Down the Rabbit Hole.
Tags: Echo Falls Series
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