Lolita and all associated characters are property of Vladimir Nabokov.
Monday. Mother’s new tenant looks like Cary Grant; dark, almost black, hair, and a sharp jaw and broad shoulders. I could fall madly in love with him, all shooting stars and a million fireworks, but sometimes I think that he’s too intense to be a spitting copy of my sweet Cary. Mother’s tenant—Mr. Humbert, looks at me and sometimes it reminds me of the way a few of the boys in school look at me, as though they have X-ray eyes. But most of the time it makes me curious. I don’t want to be around him and I can’t make up my mind.
He has a funny accent, too. Maybe not funny, but it’s some sort of European sounding twang that makes him sound prim and proper.
Tuesday. Therese said that she would write me a letter while she was in Europe with her parents but it’s been nearly a month and I haven’t heard a word and I’m starting to think that this is her way of telling me that she doesn’t want to be friends anymore.
I always wondered when she was going to jump ship. Therese was born into money and her father got even richer during the war. She has a maid. Her mother doesn’t look at price tags. Her father smokes fat cigars the way Therese and I eat ice cream cones. Therese used to pretend that she was embarrassed of being that filthy rich, as though people weren’t always being painfully polite in hopes that she would swoop them under her wing. They were all hungry for her money. I always knew that her mother didn’t really approve of me. She thought I was a misfit, as though single motherhood were an infection that would latch onto her skin, as though it was the first symptom of leprosy. Then again, Mother can be horribly embarrassing, especially when she’s guzzled too many glasses of sherry.
Once she told me that I had been a mistake and we were both surprised that she’d admitted it.
I bet when we get back to school, Therese will sit with Maxine Winters and her horseback riding friends. They’ll all wear those patent leather Mary Janes and cashmere sweater sets from that boutique on Main Street. Maxine is always walking around with her nose in the air, like she can buy the whole world if she wanted. Therese will be one of them and I’ll have to start going to the nurse’s office during lunch to complain of “headaches.”
Wednesday. We held hands. I can’t believe it even happened. I was so nervous to even do it but Mother was irritating me and it’s sometimes so disgusting to see how much she moons over his big dumb face. She’s trying so hard to win him and remembers to wear lipstick and powders her face. They almost left without me. I ran out the door without my shoes and jumped into the back. Mother was absolutely livid; I thought she’d pop a blood vessel. And then H. and I held hands and I could feel his breath on the back of my neck and it was perfect and I could have stayed like that forever.
Friday. I used to like this boy named Henry. He had eyes the color of ocean glass and freckles. He was always getting roughed up and so was never without a new scar or a scratch or bandage. He used to kick the back of my chair in English class. Once I saw him at the movie theater and we both watched this Humphrey Bogart double feature twice, but we never spoke a word to one another the whole time. One day Henry decided that he liked Therese. Every day after school, they would meet up at the drugstore and have malts. After a week, Therese decided that having a boyfriend was too much work and she dumped Henry. Henry stopped talking to me completely.
Saturday. I make excuses to touch H. Mother always ruins it, though. Today she fired off another nasty comment and if I weren’t so annoyed by her, I would feel sorry for her.
Sunday. Sometimes I wish that Mother would meet some rich man and send me off to boarding school so that I would never have to see her again. But then I remember that even the idea of boarding school makes me sick.
Tuesday. I HATE HER, I HATE HER, I HATE HER! She’s making me go to summer camp for three weeks. I know it’s because she wants H. all to herself. And why didn’t he say anything? Doesn’t he want me around?
Wednesday. I know what I have to do.
Thursday. I dreaded leaving all day. I waited to pack until the very last minute. I cried all last night and my eyes were rimmed red when I woke up. H. seemed so nonchalant about my leaving and it made me furious. Before I left, I ran back into the house and kissed him. I was in such a dreamy state that I didn’t fully realize what I was doing until I opened my eyes. But he wrapped his arms around me and he kissed me back and my body felt electric.
I hope he writes me long letters while I’m away. I want him to miss me.
By Vanessa Willoughby – Contributing Writer – wintertangerine.com
Collage of original sketches and notes by Nabokov– by Kellie