In the morning Eunice heard the front door slam closed, so came down to greet Dougie. He stood smiling proudly, as he motioned to her I.D. cards laying on the kitchen table.
“Don’t be afraid little Darlin,’ this may not matter in a year or two. Okay, maybe five years from now. You just never know where life is going to take you,” Dougie said.
She inspected the two cards. In her hand they felt exactly like her real ones. How on earth was she supposed to function. She had no idea who this Nina person was.
“I must admit it’s a little shocking,” Eunice said, groggy from being housebound like an over medicated asylum patient. What happened to her drive to do errands, try restaurants or go to movies. Oh yeah, you joined an amateur vigilante group and got in a lot of trouble!
“It’s only shocking the first time. The next go round you’ll be a pro!” he said, laughing.
“Dougie. It’s not funny,” she said, stifling a naughty giggle.
“Lighten up Francis! I want you to get yourself out there and buy Nina some new threads. Enough hiding in the attic. I put a little extra together for you,” he slid over a short stack of twenty dollar bills.
“I’m sure you’re right, thank you Dougie. You’ve been awfully good to me,” she said, feeling uneasy.
Eunice took Dougie’s advice and ventured through the streets of Memphis, farther then she had gone before. She noticed something looser and freer than the oppressed vibe in Montgomery. Locals and tourists of all ilk’s and ethnicities intermingled, without the usual sand drawn line separating ghettos. The same went for homeless panhandlers, who were a diverse mixture.
Memphis was on Highway 61, an important north and south connector, especially before the interstate highways were built. Many southerners traveled north along 61, heading for St. Louis or Saint Paul. Daddy said Memphis was also a place people came to for anonymity.
She walked the neighborhoods, without care for a map or directions figuring if she got lost maybe the feds wouldn’t find her either. Somewhere along the way she ended up on a street of trendy second hand boutiques and saw a funky dress in a window. She went inside.
For the next half hour she tried on skirts, dresses, shorts and hats. They could have played a Brown Eyed Girl montage like in a Julia Roberts movie, as she spun around modeling for store clerks, who didn’t know her from the news. She left the store delighted by her purchases feeling the familiar precocious glee, she got from shopping so headed over to Beale Street instead of going home.
She found an open air patio to sit and people watch, while sipping fruity sangria. The alcohol eased her troubles away. There were people visiting Memphis, from all over; Miami, Dallas and Vancouver, judging by their t-shirt markings. Her anonymity was more secure due to her new Jackie O large framed sunglasses.
A woman caught her eye coming toward her from a ways down the street. She had wavy sand-colored hair and a salmon body hugging dress. Her eyes sparkled supernaturally, perhaps she had colored contact lenses. As she got closer Eunice noticed her androgynous face and ethnic background ambiguous, yet she was striking. An aura projected out of how she carried herself with self-assured expression. Only an expert aura reader could read her colors.
Maybe she is Nina. The thought gave Eunice an excited tingle up her spine. This woman had a style Nina could adopt.
Eunice poured the last of her sangria, the blood stained citrus slices mushed together at the bottom. With newfound gusto, she thought things were looking up. If there had been a checklist, she’d accomplished a lot today.
On the way back to Dougie’s, she stopped at CVS for L’Oreal hair dye, a straightening iron, colored contact lenses and a bottle of Vodka.
The cocktails filled an empty void allowing her to identify new parts of herself. Eunice was Nina. Nina had the unabashed strength and courage Eunice lacked. Perhaps she became Nina when she drank, as if alcohol were a magic potion.