cities or suburbs, plus premium fishing and hunting. So even though Ihad made it out of this place, at least for a while, there was no pride to befelt in it. I had gotten nowhere better.
A truck pulled up, and I knew it was Pete. I dropped the cigarette andstamped it out.
“Laura? Is that you?” He stood studying me from the edge of the
lawn. “What are you doing here?”
His height surprised me, though it shouldn’t have. He had finished
growing since I’d last seen him. Perhaps the extra weight made him
seem bigger overall. Padded. His straw-blond hair stuck down against
his scalp, thinned out enough that I could see the pink skin beneath. He
wore a blue polo and loose jeans smudged with dirt. A tool belt was slung
down around his hips, and he hugged a brown paper bag to his chest.
I raised my hand in a wave. “Hi. How are you?”
“Your mom said you were moving back. Roz invite you to prayer
“Yeah. She’s real nice.” The way I said it sounded strange, like I was
defending her when she hadn’t been attacked.
“You weren’t really the praying type.”
“You’re right. That’s why I’m out here.”
I remembered how appraising his eyes were: icy blue and quick to
detect any small deceit. Calculating. He grew familiar again, but then I
knew even less what to say.
“Nice house. I like the mountain lion.”
“In the bathroom.”
“Oh. Right.” He shifted the bag to the other arm. “So what are you
doing? Where are you working?”
“I’m a teacher.”
He raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah. I teach art. But our budget got cut so I’m looking for a new
school. Know of any?”
“No. It’s good. I have time to take care of my mom now.”
He shook his head. “She’s a great woman, your mom. Got a bad hand.
I always liked her. Rosalind and I have been praying for her.”
I wanted to ask him how he’d met Roz, what made him fall in love
and if it had stuck, how they decided what to hang on their walls, if she