A rough, rocky excuse for a driveway, surrounded by low hanging willow trees, birches, and evergreens keeps an old property hidden from the main road. A clean pickup truck, outfitted for contract work, kicks up dust along the path. It slows to a stop and the door swings open. Rough, brown work boots crunch the gravel as Tom, a man in his early thirties and country strong, adjusts his Handy Brothers baseball hat.
There is the memory of heat pressing against her scalp. Her hair has been curled, her face is sticky…there’s a tar like residue drying against her skin. Her makeup? She was hardly wearing any and now it is as if her skin has been pasted over and cracked open. Beside her the face of a clown reflects in stagnant rainwater.
I narrowed my eyes in an attempt to remember a time when I actually enjoyed Dostoyevsky. My pupils darted from the dirt covering the sides of my loafers to the -kovs and -kovas that dotted the dog-eared page in front of me. The burden of the words had bent me over: elbow on knee, palm spread across ear, thumb and forefinger toying with the skin tag at the nape of my neck.
The whispers were beginning to make her feel uncomfortable. For the third time since she’d placed it in the oven, Ingrid peeked at the roast. It was fine. Starting to darken around the edges, eleven minutes from the brown perfection her friends hated her for. Hate was a strong word. Envy was a better word.