Two Like Me and You
Chad Alan Gibbs
Publication date: May 20th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Edwin Green’s ex-girlfriend is famous. We’re talking cover-of-every-tabloid-in-the-grocery-store-line famous. She dumped Edwin one year ago on what he refers to as Black Saturday, and in hopes of winning her back, he’s spent the last twelve months trying to become famous himself. It hasn’t gone well.
But when a history class assignment pairs Edwin with Parker Haddaway, the mysterious new girl at school, she introduces him to Garland Lenox, a nursing-home-bound World War II veteran who will change Edwin’s life forever.
The three escape to France, in search of the old man’s long-lost love, and as word of their adventure spreads, they become media darlings. But when things fall apart, they also become the focus of French authorities. In a race against time, who will find love, and who will only find more heartache?
In which our hero recalls the events of the preceding chapter in alarmingly poor detail.
Fitz once told me scientists believe the more times our brain recalls a memory, the more unreliable that memory becomes. They say when we pull a file from our subconscious it will inevitably have an error or two, and the next time we recall that event we actually recall the new, slightly incorrect version, subsequently adding more errors to it in the process. It’s like our brain is playing the telephone game with itself, and in the end, our most treasured memories become our most unreliable ones.
If true, this would make my memory of Parker telling me she knew where they kept the old people my least trustworthy memory, because halfway through literature class I’d already replayed it a hundred times. And maybe the scientists are right, because now when I picture her leaning in to kiss me we’re not always standing in the hall at school. Sometimes we’re knee-deep in a sea of yellow flowers, and sometimes we’re atop a hill, looking down on a city below. I know she must have worn the same thing she always wore—jeans, her old army jacket, and a thrift store T-shirt, this one with a faded Carter-Mondale ’80 logo on the front. But when I think of us in the hall she’s wearing a green dress, and she’s paralyzing me with impossibly blue eyes. But she’d never wear a dress to school, and her eyes were brown, I think. I don’t know anymore. I just know there was a strand of red hair falling from her knit cap, and when she leaned in close she smelled like perfume and coffee, and in that moment I remembered there were indeed other girls in the world, and with just a smile they could reduce you to fear and trembling.
Mrs. Clayton and the rest of the class stared at me.
“Mr. Green, please do not ‘huh’ me. We are waiting for your interpretation of the green light at the end of the first chapter of The Great Gatsby. You have read the first chapter of The Great Gatsby, haven’t you, Mr. Green?”
I shrugged and shook my head and Mrs. Clayton said to see her after class.
Before Black Saturday I was on pace to be our class salutatorian (no one was catching Fitz for top honors), but now I was ranked a little lower, okay, a lot lower, okay, I was tied with Buzz Booker. A few teachers, like Mrs. Clayton, had expressed some concern over my rapidly plummeting GPA. And while I admit for the last year there’d been a complete lack of effort on my part, I’d honestly intended to read the first chapter of The Great Gatsby the night before, but got freaked out by the short bio of F. Scott Fitzgerald in the opening pages.
You should know I was obsessed with becoming famous, but not for the reasons most people want to become famous, e.g., cruising the Mediterranean on a gold-plated yacht accompanied by four supermodels and a pet tiger. No, I wanted to be famous because, well, because my ex-girlfriend, Sadie Evans, was famous. She was easily the most famous of the three famous people from Hornby, a list that went (3) Carl Bowers, a 1969 graduate who played wide receiver at Auburn and now sold insurance, (2) Becca Stuckey, the 1984 homecoming queen who posed in Playboy and later married then divorced Carl Bowers, and (1) Sadie Evans, who became famous on Black Saturday by—you know what, I’d rather not talk about it right now. But Sadie wasn’t just famous by Hornby standards, she was cover-of-every-tabloid-at-the-grocery-store famous. She was one of People’s 25 Most Beautiful People, and Time’s 30 Most Influential People, and Maxim’s 35 People We Want to See Naked, the latter issue pulled from shelves once attorneys reminded the folks at Maxim that Sadie was only sixteen. So while I should have been reading F. Scott’s classic, I spent another night of my younger and more vulnerable years fretting over fame.
Chad Alan Gibbs lives in Alabama with his wife, two sons, two dogs, and an embarrassingly large collection of Star Wars action figures. Two Like Me and You is his first novel.