To Come and Go Like Magic

Free To Come and Go Like Magic by Katie Pickard Fawcett

Book: To Come and Go Like Magic by Katie Pickard Fawcett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Katie Pickard Fawcett
any day, he says, even though it’s full of iron and sulfur and turns the white clothes yellow.
    Rose’s wringer washing machine is sitting in themiddle of the kitchen floor taking up all the room. She washes and starches and irons shirts for the better men in town while their wives polish their nails and play cards.
    We duck beneath a line of wet shirts and pants and boxy underwear to get to the sink. Momma and Jack fill their jugs first and Rose follows them to the front porch while they take their jugs to the car. I fill mine while Lenny waits in the doorway.
    “That’s the preacher’s blue shirt,” I say, pointing to the only blue amongst the whites and yellows.
    “I think you’re right,” Lenny says.
    “It’s the one Zeno’s little brother threw up on,” I say, recalling how the preacher had picked up the baby and patted him on the back so hard his milk came up all over that blue shirt. It had small gray lines in it, almost invisible from a distance. “I’d like to put that shirt on a monkey.”
    Lenny laughs so hard he has to hold his belly. He’ll laugh at anything I say.
    I’m turned around watching him when Aunt Rose walks back in the kitchen.
    “Look at that!” she shrieks, and points to the sink. “You know better than to waste water.”
    The faucet’s on full blast and water is pouring over the jug. I turn it off, but Aunt Rose’s face is aflame. She wipes off the counter even though it didn’t really splash that far.
    Lenny steadies his jug under the faucet.
    “Is that the preacher’s?” he asks, nodding toward the blue shirt.
    “Well, yes, it is,” Rose says. “How’d you know?”
    “Zeno’s little brother threw up on it,” I say.
    “What?” She examines the shirt for stains.
    “You sure got it as clean as a whistle,” Lenny says. He’s grinning, probably still picturing a monkey in that starched blue shirt.
    “I suppose I did,” Rose says proudly.
    Jack and Momma are waiting for us with the trunk open. I hand my water jugs to Jack and slip into the backseat beside Lenny. When we get ready to go, Aunt Rose leans in through Jack’s open window.
    “You all ought to stay awhile,” she says. “You can go home when you can’t go no place else.”
    We’re all still laughing when Momma turns the key and pulls out into the going-down sun.
    You can always go home. Your true home stays put. It’s all those other places in the outside world that you can’t always go to, maybe never go to, except in dreams. These mountains keep a firm hold. I once read about an earthquake on the other side of the world and that night I dreamt the mountains moved. The river and the meadow and the woods got smaller and smaller as the mountains closed in and squeezed out all the air.
    Sometimes when a storm whips through this valley on its way to someplace else, I feel trapped, caught in the wind.

I n Line at the Piggly Wiggly …
    We’re stuck in line behind some woman in bell-bottom jeans and a rabbit-fur vest. It’s way too hot for a vest like that.
    She takes her time emptying the cart, talking to Rusty Peters behind the counter.
    Aunt Rose turns around and rolls her eyes at me. “That one’s bound to be a VISTA,” she whispers.
    I look down at my feet, hoping the rabbit woman doesn’t hear.
    Rose shakes her head. “The only time they come here to trade is when the A&P over in Jellico Springs runs out of something,” she says.
    The rabbit woman turns around, but she looks past us and scans the aisles. People are always getting halfway checked out and then remembering something else they need. She bends over the counter and says something toRusty, but I can’t hear because of all the adding-machine noise.
    Rusty stops tapping keys and goes up on his toes so his head’s above the stack of cornflakes on sale at the checkout.
    “Hey, Jimmy!” he shouts to Jimmy Dupree, the produce boy. “Where’s the
falafel
mix at?”
    Dead silence. Heads in line at the two other checkout counters

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