Friday, February 18, 2005


The boy grabbed a deviled egg from the milky-yellow tray, danced around his mother's legs, trampled the brown spiky grass. Wound tight then set loose like a satellite, he rocketed down the slope toward the pond, shoved the egg in his mouth where he held it close to his cheek. He threw his arms up and waved them back and forth, an advance warning to the ducks resting on the surface of the water.

The girl sat with the women and listened to them talk about men and their smells. The conversation indicated that if you knew a man, he probably smelled poorly, certainly not better than the last man discussed. She had never noticed how a man smelled, except for her father, who smelled like cows. She wondered if different men smelled like different animals, but then thought that if that were the case, the women would have mentioned it already.

The people said "it's not the heat, it's the humidity," but really, it was the heat. The sun was so bright no one could tilt their heads, everyone shuffled about looking at the ground, sweating. The light went through leaves, through trees. It was like there were no shadows. Even the birds had to keep flying, just keep moving, to dry the sweat and cool themselves. Deer couldn't sleep because they were shifting in their thickets, trying to find a place to rest that wasn't too hot.

The boy reached the water and jumped, tried to sky the entire pond, then hit the water and relaxed, his body dropping and floating at the same time. He reached out and grabbed at the water with his hands, hoping to touch a turtle or a fish swimming by. He came up for a breath then went down again, got his body straight and kicked with both legs. Wondered if there was a bottom close enough to touch.

The girl got up and walked to the tire tethered to the large sycamore, slid her legs in and wrapped her arms around the hot rubber. She was either just sitting there watching everyone talking, or she was waiting for an adult to come by and push her. She knew that if they saw her they would say the same thing they always said, which was, "that Tammy is some creature."

The people agreed that the sun was danged hot. They wiped their necks with their handkerchiefs and squinted.

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