Burn Girl

Free Burn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak

Book: Burn Girl by Mandy Mikulencak Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mandy Mikulencak
think I’d be better off just getting on with my life and leaving the past as past?”
    â€œBecause it’s too difficult to talk about?”
    â€œNo, because it won’t change anything. I’m fine. I’ve always been fine.”
    As much as I liked Jane, I hated when she resorted to psychobabble. And I saw through her attempts to put me at ease with her casual stance.
    â€œWhat do you want, Jane?” I asked. “Should I scream and tear out my hair? Do you want me to curse Mom for destroying my chances at a normal life?”
    â€œI don’t want anything, Arlie, except for you to have a full, happy life. But you’ve lost your mother. You have a new guardian and are experiencing all the normal stressors of teenage life, with the added stressor of being physically different. So, yeah, I think you have some emotions to sort out. Maybe ones you haven’t even allowed yourself to feel yet.”
    I played with a hole in my jeans, avoiding Jane’s stare. Mom had done the unforgivable in leaving me. And it frightened me to think I hated her more than I loved her.
    â€œI think it’s time for me to be going,” I said. “I’ll see you next Friday.”
    Before I could leave, Jane reached out and touched my elbow.
    â€œYour mother didn’t destroy your chances at a normal life,” she said. “Only you can do that.”

    Frank lugged a bundle of two-by-fours on one shoulder without breaking a sweat. When he saw me, he dropped the wooden planks to the ground and they bounced noisily.
    â€œHow was school?” he called out.
    â€œIt’s Monday. What’s there to say?” I mumbled and made my way over to the Airstream trailer.
    â€œIt’s Monday. What’s there to say,” he mimicked in a high-pitched voice. “Get over here and tell me how your day went.”
    He sat down on the edge of the smooth concrete foundation. I sat down beside him and offered him the rest of the water in my Nalgene. He downed it and wiped droplets from his thick beard.
    â€œIt’s a warm one for April,” he said. “You wearing sunscreen?”
    Both he and Mo were overprotective of my burn scar. Or maybe being a redhead made Frank unusually concerned.
    â€œYes,” I said. “Want to inspect the tube I have in my backpack?”
    â€œYou don’t always have to be a smart-ass.”
    I shrugged.
    â€œHey, I borrowed that new Karen Russell book from your room,” he said. “I’m sure you’re probably working on several others.”
    He was right. I usually had four or five books going at once. If I got bored with one story too easily, I liked to have choices. And since we didn’t have a TV, I was reading more than usual lately.
    â€œYou almost done for the day?” I looked at the chaotic construction site. No matter how cluttered it seemed, by the end of each day, Frank always had his tools in order and locked away in a storage shed. Scrap materials found their place into the dumpster.
    â€œI’m going to finish framing this wall and then I’ll cook us some supper.” He slapped his thighs with both hands and returned to his woodpile.
    Besides recognizing his voracious appetite for books and an aversion to razors, I still knew little about my uncle, but we felt more and more comfortable around one another. He usually said what was on his mind, which kept things real. Sometimes too real.
    â€œCan I do anything to help?” I asked. “Chop something?”
    â€œAlready done that,” he said. “Relax or read.”
    I shielded my eyes and continued to watch him work. He assembled two-by-fours into a grid on the foundation. Within forty-five minutes, he had another wall lifted and braced into place. He’d designed the house himself. In fact, he’d drawn and redrawn the plans over and over for the past twenty years. He said he’d never gotten around to building

Similar Books

Lying Together

Gaynor Arnold

All You Need Is Love

Janet Nissenson

Spooning Daisy

Maggie McConnell


Natasha Deen

Things We Never Say

Sheila O'Flanagan

Chasing Me

Cat Mason

Dastardly Deeds

Ilsa Evans