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ment and the glass windows of the Cushion Cafe and the windows of the car and all the green metal, just slicing into us. He turned slowly to the girls. "Ladies," he said. He opened the front door. "Step in. We'll go for a ride." They sighed and slid in, one in front, and then, when he opened the back door, the other in the back. Into my seat, my passenger seat for our long adventure summer. For our whole long lives, kindergarten holding hands to the busstop, middle school with braces and Mr. Halo the meanest math teacher that ever was (a united front, was our tactic when he picked on us), and then high school and graduating and long working days at the Merry Mart, the Woodberry Inn, the Drive-in Range. All of it swept away with the rumble of the engine and the laughter of two snide giggling girls, who waved their fingers in a mean slow fan at me, knowing that they'd won. They drove away, even though Lewis had two hours left on his shift, and I-I covered for him, like a ninny. A ninny in love, said my mother when I cried to her that night. FoR SEVERAL DAYS WE DIDN'T TALK. Worked the Cushion Cafe like a couple of strangers, smiling robotically to all the customers. College kids and professors and people from town in for a bite. Most of them white, because the black families stayed on the other side of town, except occasionally. In the Cushion Cafe there were birthday milkshakes and newborn babies over women's shoulders and the kids still coming in (fewer now, but still) to hear Lewis' story. "A fingertip," I said under my breath. "Just a fingertip." Dill heard me. Said in his hounddog way, "Susie, he'll come back. Don't you worry, girl. He'll come back to you." I made a grimace face. Ugly and mad. "How do you know, Dill?" I was begging for hope. Lewis had taken a separate room at the B and B, now that he'd saved some from his tips, Mitzy's the lion's share. I told him one afternoon that he had used me, and that I would not cover for him anymore. He could get fired for all I cared. "I know a thing or two," Dill said. "Is that why you have such sad eyes? Because of the thing or two?" "Let's just say," he said. "I had the most beautiful two sons in the world. And a wife could knock your socks off." "What happened?" I asked. But Dill turned away. Wouldn't look at me for the rest of the day. Washed dishes. Whistled a sad and lonely tune, which I was singing right along with in my heart. DILL INTRODUCED ME TO A BOY NAMED T UCKER, who took me to the top of Chambers, the big brick building with a white dome in the center of 94

Profile for University of Idaho Library

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho