Batresh reveals who she is
Glenda looked at the glass of ice tea in her hand. Then, into Batresh's face. It was hot. More like Southern California than Oregon, she thought to herself.
She looked at Batresh with curiosity. “You know; you have hardly aged since I first met you. What was it, 30 years ago?”
“Got any more gin?” Batresh asked laughing. “I think the alcohol preserves me.”
Glenda smiled at her old friend. But, she had a strange feeling. A feeling that all wasn’t as it seemed. “Susan,” she began, “You only arrived yesterday. We haven’t seen each other or connected for 20 years.” She looked at her ice tea and brought the cold glass to her forehead, then continued, “You have been very mysterious. Why are you here?”
Bringing her glass down, Glenda saw a black and white cat coming from under the thick growth of a cedar tree. She turned to look at Batresh, “Why, after so long did you seek me out? Why did you move to Portland?”
Batresh looked at her own, now empty glass and knew she would have to explain. It was time. He would be here in 10 minutes. “You know, San Francisco is no longer really habitable, since the shift.”
Glenda nodded, looking at her own dry back yard. It hadn’t rained for months. It was October, and the rains wouldn’t begin again until December, if they were lucky. “It was so lush here before,” she said, referring to the shift, the Chilean earthquake of 2022, so strong that parts of Europe were pushed northwards. Most of Russia now sat where the Arctic Circle had once been. The United States was pushed further south. News networks reported the gulf stream had stopped.
Batresh looked at the gravel in Glenda’s back yard. Lawns were now illegal in most of the United States. “You know, earthquakes like the one that caused the shift, are their specialty,” she responded, relaxing back in the chair.
Glenda drew her brows together, “What?”
“The Reptilians,” Batresh replied.
“You mean the aliens?”
Batresh relaxed, looking up at the cloudless sky. It would soon be too hot to sit outside. She allowed her eyelids to close half way. “Exactly,” she responded.
Glenda sighed, beginning to suspect that her friend Susan was one of those people who saw the world as a swirl of conspiracies. “But, they only arrived last year.”
Batresh shook her head negatively. “No, my dearest.”
Glenda stood and reached over to get Batresh’s empty glass. “Let me refill your drink.”
“They returned in the early 60s, when you were a little boy,” Batresh offered.
Glenda took the glass from her. “I think you watch The Examiner Channel too much,” she responded.
“Are those tomato plants near the spruce tree?” Batresh asked, pointing towards the tree near the fence.
Glenda looked towards drying plants. "You know, when I was little in Mississippi, I saw elderly women working in gardens. They wore large brimmed hats and dresses with floral patterns.” She walked to the railing on the deck and continued, “Sometimes they leaned on posts, stopping to have a glass of ice tea; most times they were tending tomatoes.” She turned, facing Batresh, “Growing big, juicy tomatoes was a sign of good breeding." She smiled, remembering her aunt Lala.
"I used to fantasize about being one of those old ladies; sitting on the porch, fanning myself, feeling proud of my tomatoes. My aunts grew so many they had to give them away," looking into the distance, she smiled at the memory of relatives, long dead. She continued, "...after putting some aside for stewing and canning, that is." She took another sip of tea and looked into Batresh's face as if she recognized her from a former life.
"Living in the Northwest, where tomatoes used to struggle to get enough sun and warmth, I was afraid I would be denied that fantasy. I lived vicariously through my female friends who remained in the southern states." She turned towards the glass door, taking hold of the handle. “But, no more. Since the shift, I can grow tomato plants like my ancestors.”
She opened the door and looked back at her friend, “Come inside, it’s too hot.”
Batresh followed her into the kitchen, allowing the glass door to shut behind them. The cool air felt good.
“You want another gimlet?” Glenda asked.
“So, you’re saying I have those Reptilians to thank for my tomatoes?” she tried to laugh.
“Glenda, I don’t watch The Examiner Channel. In fact, I don’t watch TV at all, unless I have a reason.”
Glenda smiled at Batresh as if she were a foolish child.
They both turned around, hearing the doorbell.
“That will be Jerry,” Batresh offered.
Glenda looked at her with confusion. “Who?”
“Answer the door.”
Glenda placed the glasses on the counter, looking at Batresh with suspicion and began walking towards the front door. The large, open floor plan allowed Batresh to watch her.
Glenda bent down to look through the peep hole. “Who is it?” she asked.
Batresh saw Rick, Glenda’s husband walk into the open space from the hallway.
She opened the door and saw a young man with a dark complexion. Immediately, she felt recognition. But, she couldn’t place him. She tilted her head to the side, drawing her brows together.
“Come in, Jerry,” Batresh offered, authoritatively.
“May I?” he asked.
Glenda stood aside and gestured for him to walk in.
“Bet you didn’t think you’d see me again,” he offered, looking at Glenda.
He looked her up and down and whistled low. “You made a beautiful woman,” he said walking inside.
She shut the door behind him. “How?” she stuttered. “Do I know you?”
“Yes you do,” he responded.
Rick walked to Glenda and Jerry.
Jerry turned to him and extended his hand, “You must be Glenda’s husband. I knew her when she was a little boy in Mississippi. I’m Jerry Means.”
Glenda gasped, bringing her hand to her mouth.
Batresh smiled and walked towards them.
“You can’t be!” Glenda said, almost shouting. But, there he was. She recognized him. “How can you?” she didn’t finish her sentence. “You would be almost 100 years old,” she looked at Rick with fear.
Batresh walked to her. “Glenda,” she said, taking her hand. “You had better sit down.” She led her over to the sofa in the family room. “Do you remember a woman selling makeup to your mother when you were about five years old?”
Glenda stepped back.
“Sit down, darling,” Batresh offered.
Glenda sat down. Rick came to sit beside her.
Batresh continued, “My name is not really Susan.”
Glenda’s eyes widened.
“Do you remember a man running to you when your Daddy tried to throw you off Pickwick Dam?”
Glenda gasped again.
“Jerry was that man,” Batresh said. “I was the woman who sold your Mama makeup.”
Glenda stood, not knowing what to do.
“We have been watching you your whole life,” Batresh said. “My name is Batresh. I am your daughter.”