By H.A. Luck
She has taken the truck, the old one that Weldon does not trust anymore to get him to work and back but is fine for little things, errands around town, a trip to the beach, which is where she is headed. There won’t be many people there, the sun hanging low in the sky. Dogwalkers mostly. A good place to think. Or maybe just a place to drink a bottle of sweet wine from the cooler at Dale’s, the wine so cold it makes cigarettes taste good all over again. Yes, that’s the first stop and when she does pull into Dale’s and parks in the grit lot and shuts the engine off she can feel it tick as it cools and the sound is the sound of her own heart beating too fast. That’s the way it is when she pulls into this particular lot. The store is empty and bright and she goes straight to the cooler in the back for a bottle of cheap blush. Screwtop wine. Bum wine, Weldon would call it. Lily takes it to the counter and asks for cigarettes. Marlboros reds. She doesn’t know the girl behind the counter so there is no need for small talk. She’s right about the beach. Almost empty. She pulls in and parks facing the sea. She’s right about the wine, too. Sweet and cold and she takes a long pull before lighting a cigarette. She won’t need all the wine but if she brings the rest back, Weldon will say that she is trying to work him off the wagon by having liquor in the house, so she sips slowly. She’ll have to finish it and doesn’t want too much buzz too fast. The wine starts her thinking now, first about how the twilights are getting cooler and then the weather, just like about everything else, starts her thinking about Deacon Blue down there playing ball in the Southern League. Well, she can’t help loving him and she believes he loves her but she can’t seem to help him, either and then there is Weldon who loves her and can help her and Adalena, too. The love thing and the helping thing are all tied up tight with each other and somehow come out wrong, or at least backwards, most of the time. She thinks so, anyway. She wonders what Deacon will do when the season ends. She guesses he might go to Mexico or even the Dominican and play winter ball if his arm holds out.
She used to think that she was ready to swing out into the passing lane and do some overtaking but lately she’s begun to think she’s more settled in the right lane, stuck behind some slow coach. And that might not be the worst thing for now. For this moment here.
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H.A. Luck was raised and educated in Baltimore, Maryland and attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He currently lives in Bern, Switzerland, where he is a writer and teacher.