Rosalie Beecham had been told the previous month that the job in Basin, Montana would be easy enough. It took about three weeks to convince her to go (“I have too many stupid memories from that place mom”), and even when she got there, she still had doubts. Now she was in the (sprawling two acre) front yard of her cousin Amy’s house, talking to Amy’s son, Max, who was 19. Except for the fact that Rosalie was having a few mental fits and was quite terrified to go anywhere, it was what you would call a “lazy afternoon”. “honestly,” said Max, “over the summer they EXPECT kids like you to apply for these things. It’s the way you get college credit”
“A general store? Really?’ interrupted Rosalie “okay,” said Max, “it can also be about getting money FOR college. You know what I mean, Ros. Jesus” “no, I don’t” said Rosalie, trying to be as annoyingly contrary as possible. “Well it’s not like Delilah is going to whip you every time you forget to give them the bills first” said Max “Amy says they have a bad reputation for beating the crud out of the summer employees or whatever , so don’t try to sway me” added Rosalie, who was trying to get out of the situation desperately “ My mother has a reputation for exaggerating, and you know that” said Max, raising his eyebrow. “okay, Maximilian [his real name], whatever you want” said Rosalind coolly, “we’ll go meet our end in the outer corners of nowhereville, despite the fact that you are telling me that there is nothing to be afraid of. Correct?” “I can assure you, you will be very, very safe” he said impatiently.
Then, his gaze softened. He looked at Rosalie intently, and they stayed there for about a minute, as the wind blew silently.“he’s going to kiss me” thought Rosalind “I know he’s going to kiss me agian…he’s…no it’s not because we’re cousins…but we’re third cousins……it’s not because of that, is it?” her thoughts dissolved as they came closer together. For a second she could feel him breathing ever so slightly. They were just centimeters apart, when he suddenly pulled back, his cheeks red with embarrassment. Rosalie’s thoughts were jostled, and she screamed a tiny scream, breathing out the air she realized she had been holding in. Max was searching for the right words to say, his eyes squinting, his face pained.
“Look,” he said, putting one hand on his forehead and one on his hip, swaying back and forth. “I’m..I’m going to go and…why don’t you, um…why don’t you go walk to the five and dime by yourself, huh?I’m gonna…go head back to the house and find that copy of Beowulf I lost”. She stared back at him, not believing a word. That look meant “I know you’re just a miserable coward, so don’t even go on talking”. “Fine”, she said slowly, enunciating every part of the world, so it sounded more like “faaiiiyeen”. Then she turned around and started heading in the other direction, swaying her hips proudly. As her vision started to blur and her head started to ache, she wished she had never agreed to come.
The five and dime was on a dirt road five miles away. She could have easily gotten there in less than fifteen minutes via a car, but as it was, it took nearly the rest of the day. By that time it was it early twilight, and the sweltering heat had simmered down to a low, balmy wind. The store was closed, and no one was there. She started to walk back again, upset that her day had been wasted, but still tried to conjure up an image in her head. She pictured the owner, Ms. Delilah Autry, as a tall, middle aged woman with a long, tired face. The store’s porch light would be on, and Ms. Delilah Autry would be sitting there on a rocking chair, smoking, her hands dangling lazily over the arm rests, the last of the sunset lighting up half of her face. “ I don’t even think I wanted to kiss him” said Rosalie out loud, lying to herself.
Copyright 2013 Golden Star Poetry