Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 152: Clementine, Chapter 11

I woke up sore the next morning and watched specks of dust floating in the sunshine coming in through the window. I hated sleeping on the couch.

For one thing, I couldn't really roll over and go back to sleep--especially during the summer. The sun came in and hit me right in the face. Before long, it got hot. Even the sound of the swamp cooler, chugging along, send only a damp whisper of cool to this corner of the room. So I could either pick up my pillow and go lay on the floor in the hall, right under the swamp cooler, and risk being tripped on by Rose or my mom getting home from work, or I could just get up.

I got up.

I walked into the kitchen and got myself a glass of lukewarm tap water and stood there staring out the window at the street as I drank it. Tabitha Sloane was dragging her rottweilers and miniature pony down the street, carrying her shovel and plastic bags. She only did that for appearances. Anyone who lived in our trailer park could look in the gutters and see that she didn't pick up after her pony. Just down, I saw Paulette walk out to her car, wearing a skirt that I'm fairly sure was never intended to be worn before 8:00 in the morning. She saw me in the window and waved her cigarette at me. I nodded back.

It was going to be hot. Maybe I would go lay under the swamp cooler after all.

I put my red Pizza Hut glass in the steel sink and turned to go get dressed. Out of the side window I could see our front steps. Sitting on them, making dandelion curls, was Violet.

I walked to the front door and pushed it open, "Hey!" I said happily, "What are you doing here so early?" She half turned and looked at me "You said to come by sometime."

Yeah, I had said that. I guess I just supposed that "sometime" was generally interpreted as "some afternoon."

I walked out on the porch and sat next to her. She continued to peel thin strips off of dandelion stems that curled up delicately. "What are you doing today?" I asked her. Somehow, she seemed like the kind of girl that would have something in mind. "I wanted to find the meadow and the brook. You wanna come?" It took me a second, and then I laughed. "There isn't any meadow or brook. Miss Peggy just made Meadow Brook up." She tilted one eyebrow "Have you ever looked?"
"Yes. And there is no meadow and no brook."
"Well, I want to look anyway. Do you want to come?"

I curled my bare toes around the edge of the cool wooden stair. I had been thinking to go to the pool. Wandering around the trailer park in search of a meadow or brook that I already knew weren't there sounded hot and boring. But then I glanced over at Violet, who had tossed the dandelion curls into the grass and was looking at me.

"Sure. Why not? Can we bring a picnic? I haven't had breakfast."
Her eyes got a peculiar, guarded look in them, "Sure. Or we could look for berries."

All of a sudden, I knew the look. She hadn't had breakfast either. And she probably didn't have any food for a picnic, and she was embarrassed. I felt so much older and wiser as I smoothed things over, "Why don't you come in and have some cereal with me, and then I'll make us some sandwiches and we can look for berries, too?"

Her face brightened, "What kind of cereal?"
Then I scowled as I remembered, "We only have Captain Vitamin. It was on sale."
She didn't skip a beat, "But I'll bet you have milk!"


eve said...

OK, so I have decided it is just way too hard to wait and read this chapter by chapter. I need to read the book jacket - I NEED to know what this story is about! I really want to go curl up on a deck chair and READ this story beginning to end... I'm so very hooked! You are doing an amazing job with your imagery and scenes. I really can picture each day, each place, each moment.

Christina said...

yea--what Eve said!!

...only she said it much better than what was forming in this jumbled up noggin' of mine.

I think this might be my favorite story to date. Truly.

Maree said...

I too am hooked and want to go buy it! RIGHT. NOW. I love these girls. I can see them in my mind and just want to go buy them a popsicle or something. Great job creating the mental picture as we read!