Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Harper Lee | To Kill a Mockingbird | 1960

Dear Boo,

I waited through the whole play to see you. Your name was in the program next to my brother’s, and I fidgeted in my seat in the high school auditorium, afraid, like everyone, of the man who wouldn’t come out of his house.

We weren’t close then, me and Dave. We spoke to each other mainly in the language of teenagers: trading record albums, passing the salt at dinner, throwing an elbow to the ribs on the way to the bathroom. But when I saw him come out of the little door on stage, his head hung low, his skin powdered white, I was proud. “Miss Jean Louise, would you take me home?” he said, his only line, and I started crying. I didn’t know that this mysterious person whose bedroom shared a wall with mine could be so meek and frightened and alone.

It’s funny how boo used to be just a scary word. You were a ghost, Boo, a friendly one who put a blanket around Scout and left little gifts for her in a tree. Boo is different now. I say “Boo, pass the sugar,” and “Do you want to go for a walk, little boo?” to my husband and my dog. It means honey, sweetie, love.

Thanks, Boo.

Gretchen VanEsselstyn