• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 09
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Before the Drought, and After

“Remember how the corn used to grow so tall here?” he asked, hovering over me in the setting sun. He reminded me of an angel like that. Halo and all.
       “You’d chase me through the stalks,” I replied, my breath hot and sticky from all the beers we’d drunk. I was hoping it would call my nerves; I was hoping he couldn’t feel my legs shaking.
       “I miss the corn,” he said.
       That was back before the drought. Back before his Mama took off and left a note that read like a suicide letter, and maybe he would’ve thought it was, were it not for the postcard from Vegas that came a month later.        "Greetings from Sin City," the postcard read.
       The corn grew tall back then, before his Daddy started drinking and seeing that woman down at the trailer park; back before he started coming home later and later until sometimes he didn’t come home for days.
       Back then, the corn grew so high, and he’d chase me through it, and I’d always hear him coming, because his giggles gave him away.
       “I miss the corn, too,” I told him. Now it was all dried weeds, scratching against my bare legs, but I dared not squirm.
        I remember him crying in this very field, tucked away deep, by the tree that looked like it had been split by the hand of God himself. I found him there as the sun set. And I didn’t say a word. I just sat there with him, and I let him cry.
        I didn’t cry out when he finally pushed himself inside me. Didn’t utter a single sound. I just bit my lip and gripped his arm as he moved and the weeds crackled beneath me. And I focused on the setting sun, as it illuminated the tall weeds, and I thought about the sound of his laughter, so far off.
        Afterward, he said, “I hate this fucking field.” He zipped his pants and headed back toward the house.