The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland(7)By: Rebekah Crane
“Being real is key here. Are you real?”
“Yes, I’m real.”
Grover taps his pen to his chin and shakes his head. “But if you were imaginary, you would still say you’re real just to make me think you’re real. So that line of questioning won’t work.”
“I’m trying to determine if you’re real.”
“I just told you that I’m real.”
“That doesn’t prove anything. Stomp on my foot.”
“What?” I ask.
“Stomp on my foot.”
“I’m not stomping on your foot.”
Grover clicks his tongue. “Shit. You’re imaginary.”
“I’m not imaginary.”
“Then why won’t you stomp on my foot?”
“Because I might hurt you.”
“Physically, maybe. But that can heal. You can only hurt me indefinitely if you’re imaginary,” Grover says. He sticks out his foot. “Go ahead, I can take it.”
“I’m not stomping on your foot,” I say louder. “And you didn’t answer my question. Do you think you’re Grover Cleveland or you are Grover Cleveland?”
“I am Grover Cleveland.”
I put my head in my hands. “Oh God.”
“No, Grover.” He starts writing on the sheet of paper.
“What are you doing?” I ask, peeking through my hands and standing on my tiptoes to see what’s on the page.
“You.” Grover looks me up and down and starts writing again. “Black hair. Brown eyes. Appears to be around sixteen years old. Where are you from?”
“Weird. I don’t know anyone from Arizona,” he says while writing.
“Why is that weird?”
“It’s just interesting that my first hallucination would be from Arizona.”
“I’m not a hallucination,” I say again more emphatically.
Grover grins and says while writing, “Nice smile.”
“You think I have a nice smile?”
“I don’t know yet. You haven’t smiled. It’s a hypothesis. I plan on running multiple experiments to see if it is indeed a fact.” He scribbles a few more things in his notebook. “Did you know that the odds of a person having true green eyes is one in fifty?”
“It’s true.” Grover puts his pen in his mouth. “It’d be a damn shame if you’re not real.”
My cheeks heat and I look at the ground. “I told you. I’m real.”
“We need someone to settle the debate. Come on.” Grover grabs my arm and yanks me over to the tetherball courts next to the mess hall. A circle of kids watch as Cassie smacks a ball hooked to a string around the pole. She’s smiling a wicked grin as she hits the ball repeatedly over a small boy’s head. He can’t be more than thirteen.
“Eat shit and die, fuckhead!” she screams when she wins. The little boy who she’s playing against runs off the court, crying.
“Hey, Sticks!” Grover yells. “I need your help.”
“Great.” I yank my arm out of Grover’s hand as Cassie comes over, her braless boobs bouncing under her shirt.
“What is it, Cleve?”
“You know each other?” I ask.
Cassie rolls her eyes and doesn’t answer. “What can I help you with?”
Grover smiles and points at me. “Can you see her?”
“Unfortunately.” Cassie pops her hip out to the side. “Zander’s real, Cleve.”
“Zander? She’s real and has a name. It’s nice to meet you, Zander.” He holds out his hand for me to shake. I stare down at it, unsure if I really want to meet anyone at this camp. When I actually contemplate putting my hand in his, the tightness is back in my stomach. It’s unwelcome and uncomfortable, so I push it down with a breath and wave at Grover instead. Just once.
“Well, now that we’ve determined you’re real . . .” Grover rocks back on his heels, glancing down at his empty palm, before letting it fall. “What brings you to this fair part of Michigan, Zander?”