Through the casement on the stairs I saw a small impetuous ghost slip through the shrubs; a silvery dot in the dark -- hub of bicycle wheel -- moved, shivered, and she was gone.
It so happened that the car was spending the night in a repair shop downtown. I had no other alternative than to pursue on foot the winged fugitive. Even now, after more than three years have heaved and elapsed, I cannot visualize that spring-night street, that already so leafy street, without a gasp of panic. Before their lighted porch Miss Lester was promenading Miss Fabian's dropsical dackel. Mr. Hyde almost knocked it over. Walk three steps and run three. A tepid rain started to drum on the chestnut leaves. At the next corner, pressing Lolita against an iron railing, a blurred youth held and kissed -- no, not her, mistake. My talons still tingling, I flew on.
Half a mile or so east of number fourteen, Thayer Street tangles with a private lane and a cross street; the latter leads to the town proper; in front of the first drugstore, I saw -- with what melody of relief! -- Lolita's fair bicycle waiting for her. I pushed instead of pulling, pulled, pushed, pulled, and entered. Look out! Some ten paces away Lolita, through the glass of a telephone booth (membranous god still with us), cupping the tube, confidently hunched over it, slit her eyes at me, turned away with her treasure, hurriedly hung up, and walked out with a flourish.
"Tried to reach you at home," she said brightly. "A great decision has been made. But first buy me a drink, dad."
...And in the meantime the rain had become a voluptuous shower.
"Look," she said as she rode the bike beside me, one foot scraping the darkly glistening sidewalk, "look, I've decided something. I want to leave school. I hate that school. I hate the play, I really do! Never go back. Find another. Leave at once. Go for a long trip again. But this time we'll go wherever I want, won't we?"
I nodded. My Lolita.
"I choose? C'est entendu?" she asked wobbling a little beside me. Used French only when she was a very good little girl.
"Okay. Entendu. Now hop-hop-hop, Lenore, or you'll get soaked." (A storm of sobs was filling my chest.)
She bared her teeth and after her adorable school-girl fashion, leaned forward, and away she sped, my bird.
-Lolita, pp. 206 - 207
Going on a long day hike tomorrow. Going to do some thinking and some planning.