“No. That’s the beauty of it. We’ll just decide on what junk we want to leave in our fridges—and for how long—and then just, you know, record our findings.”
“Stop, you’re making me hungry.”
In the end, we picked about a dozen items. We would place them on uncovered plates in the fridge, then take pictures of them once a week until the science fair. Then we’d mount the pictures on some poster board, write some paragraphs about the spoilage rates of common food. All done.
“Do you have a camera that would be good?” Gil had asked.
“Sure. Digital,” I said.
“You have a digital camera!” he said with much surprise.[i]
“Oh, uh, well, my father does,” I said. “You know, for the newspaper. And he, uh, you know, lets me use it … sometimes … when I need it.”
“I see.” Gil was looking at me … very, very strangely.
“So why were you looking at a story about Niagara Falls?” I asked Gil a little later as we were filling in the form that Mr. Gisborne required for our project.
I laughed. “Yes, you were. I—”
“I said I wasn’t.” There was a no-nonsense tone in Gil’s voice this time. I looked over at him, but he was focused on filling in the form; he was not going to take his eyes from it.
After we finished, we sort of drifted apart in the library. I was looking at some materials Mrs. Bishop gave me on the history of the library building; Gil was back in the microfilm room.
I had already known that our Franconia library was one of the libraries that Andrew Carnegie had funded in the early years of the twentieth century. He was responsible for 1689 libraries across the country—more than 800 million dollars in today’s money. In Ohio alone there were 106 buildings.[ii]
I found a lot of other interesting things about the Franconia building—and about the Carnegie library program—and was sort of jotting them down absent-mindedly, but I was really thinking about Gil. He was turning into quite a mysterious young man. I turned a page in my notebook and began listing questions I had about Gil Bysshe:
• Who is his family? Why doesn’t he ever talk about them?
• Why is he doing research on my house?
• Why did he faint in the office?
• Why is he looking up things on Niagara Falls? And why doesn’t he want me to know it?
• Why does he seem to like me?
I paused, twirled my pencil a minute, then wrote:
• Why do I seem to like him?
I sat for a while, thinking about these questions, then decided to go talk to Gil about them. Well … maybe not the last two, but certainly the others.