Grandma looks bewildered, like a child who’s been tricked. I’ve seen this look on her face before. In the hospital, mostly in the evening. The physical therapist told me not to worry. “It happens with stroke patients. We call it sundowning. They get confused. Expect her to have good days and bad. Expect her to cry and be moody. Don’t be alarmed at outbursts, accusations.” I’ve never feared for anything until now.
We were a couple. Nobody on the floor but us. This went on for, oh, I don’t know how long. He even begged me to go away with him.
Who is this poor man, so tired, so broken? Slowly, she recognizes Bart. She can only guess at his suffering, his contained hours of grief. He is in love.
“You can’t be around a man five minutes without turning it on. I’ve watched you.” Mildred’s words were venom. “You’re sad, Susan, sad. Batting your eyes, sticking your boobs out. Pulling down your mouth like Marilyn Monroe.”
It’s Led Zeppelin,” Mildred tells her. “From the eighties, can you imagine? Whole Lotta Love, day after day. She’s only fifteen.”
I ran into the church and had never been met with a more peaceful atmosphere in my life. None of the foulness that I’d had a whiff of this afternoon could ever enter here.
Shannon knows about boys, smokes cigarettes and pot, uses fake I.D.’s to get into college bars, and once spray painted the window of a furniture store.
He’s been through countless trucks, motorcycles, guns, hounds, his one time shot at religion, and a Boy Scout troop he offered to lead and then, dumped in his assistant’s lap.
All my life I’ve been looking over my shoulder for my sister. We were inseparable until she stepped into the Guyandotte River, plunged into a current, and drowned. I stood on the bank, frozen. She bobbed up once, her face frozen, too, but for her eyes. She knew what was happening. I ran for Daddy, and then the men came with the dogs. They found her body on a sandbar near Branchland, her feet tangled in brush.
“Appalachian crafts are a myth; he was buying a porch quilt.”