• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 10


When she rode the car too fast into the underpass it gave you a little jolt, a small moment where you could taste your heart. In the heat the oil puddles were shiny like the coat of a beetle and the sound in the trees was loud. She had graffitied the side of a brick church for him but he never graffitied back. In August the dust was deafening, all things dry. Small anxieties of high summer. Drops of water from your plastic bottle cutting circles like coins on the pavement. Eating a tomato from the hand in an empty apartment. Stand in the corridor, think of all the other flats stacked below you, the ones above you, all empty. Brown powder on the marble of the shower plate. Sleeping with your mouth open. Sometimes you waited to be picked up at the corner, heels sticking to the plastic. The strap cut a line in the back of your neck, you rubbed your arms, rolled the sweaty dirt around your wrists. She always spoke as if she were sucking on a piece of warm candy, drove with her hands in the 10 and 2 position. There was a game you played religiously: you threw a handful of foxtails, and then she jumped three times, and as many foxtails as they still clung to her front, that was going to be the number of her lovers. When I grow up, she said she figured, that she would be a judge, ‘I have a strong sense of what is fairness.’ For a month at lunch you watched reruns of TV trials. Cold peach tea with your feet up on the plant pot, a packaged ice-cream. The inconsistency of voices from the open windows of identical balconies, chopped deaf by heat striking. Somewhere, a pan rattling. When you hear her car pull in, cross the street running.