Lunch Sacks and Tombstones
by C. Martinez
"I kissed Lucy yesterday." Beloved Forrester, the skinny boy in the baggy white peasant shirt said.
He unpacked the lunch sacks, arranging the sandwiches and thermos upon the fallen tombstone. A slight breeze rustled the bags and he used a couple of small rocks to flatten them.
Dina leaned until her pointed chin touched her knees, and she tightened her interlaced fingers. Not that she'd expected magic and stars from the new bob to her lemon meringue waves, but Janice had assured her that it made her heart shaped face adorable.
Heat flushed from the pit of her belly up to her cheeks, and she didn't look at the boy who said those words to her. "How was it?" Cold dampened the flush and remained to gnaw in her breast.
"I don't know," Beloved replied. "I think we did it wrong."
"Really?" Dina said, but the rise in tone matched with a sudden giggle stopped further words.
She and Lucy Hathaway had art class together. They partnered on a collage assignment and discovered a mutual love for corsets and kittens, but they differed on pictures of open wounds and jack rabbits. Dina thought both were creepy; Lucy adored them. Lucy had perfect white teeth and blueberry eyes, but she also had some really beat up, wrinkly, nubby-nailed hands. Those hands marked a natural born artist who could paint stuff with oils and acrylics that would make the baby Jesus (or Beloved Forrester as in this case) gasp. Good natured Lucy Hathaway always smiled. Dina recognized the self satisfied smirk of a budding genius. Feh.
"I had to chase her." Beloved said, the Southern accent he normally repressed peeking out. "And when we did it, she didn't close her eyes."
"Oh, imagine that," Dina said, wrinkling her nose, "Lucy Hathaway playing hard to get."
"She's pretty smart," Beloved replied without irony.
“Must be nice, being smart.”
Ah, Dina thought of Mom, and that guy she was dating...eh...Lennie? Lester? How could Dina have forgotten his name? He'd smiled, beer bottle in hand, and he'd leaned over, and nose to nose with Dina, he'd asked her which coast the Pacific Ocean was on, East or West. Dina, squirming, said she didn't know.
One in three, Lennie-ester said to Mom, One in three Americans don’t know which coast the Pacific is on.
Mom made Dina do the dishes alone that night, and didn't talk to her the next morning. Dina wiped Lennie-ester's toothbrush on the inside of the toilet bowl, the best revenge an eight year old girl could think of. Now, at fifteen, she gave herself kudos on that one.
Things weren't so bad with Mom, really. It was Mom who'd suggested Dina get a haircut, something really cute, and to wear things that would show off her soft pale décolletage and slim legs. Beloved was a boy, just like any other, and he would respond fast enough to a pretty girl just like any other, but for God's sake girl, stop talking about books and video games with him all day and take initiative before he gets snapped up by a girl who'll spread her legs, just like all the others.
Dina looked at Beloved now, not at the dainty features of his face, or his soft, black hair, but at the boy's milky wrists, and blue veins. Sitting this close together on the damp grass amongst the gravestones always set Dina off. It was as if meeting his dark eyes was the only cause of the annoying tickles and heat at her collar, and the armpits of her shirt; it made her aware of her breasts, and thighs and belly, and the entire membrane of her skin. Was it so dirty to feel like this?
"I don't even know if you're supposed to close your eyes," Dina replied. She met Beloved's gaze at that point, felt as if her skin would split, and said, "I always thought we'd have our first kisses at the same time. You know? With each other."
Holy Hamsters! Enough initiative for Mom there? Dina held her breath, closed her left eye really tightly as she looked at Beloved.
"Well," Beloved said, and he gestured to the fallen tombstone they'd set their lunches on. "I could kiss you on that, and I could pretend it's our first."
Lucy Hathaway's scars, raking pink lines on both of her peachy arms, came to Dina's mind. Scars like that could be the start of an artist’s legend, if Beloved’s mom didn’t take a shovel to Lucy’s head and bury her in the rose garden first. Ah, Beloved’s mom...a blonde pint sized ball of fading movie star glory who now had a talent for turning the word “bible” into a verb, as in “Learn to bible and Jesus’ll take the rest!”
"Forget it," Dina said and she snatched a peanut butter and jelly sandwich off the tombstone and slipped it out of the plastic baggie. Cut into the bread with her teeth and pulled off the crust, working it into her mouth with each chew. "What's so special about this tombstone, anyway? How come we're always eating lunch on it? I'd like to eat off the fallen angel one for a change." Snatching the thermos of pink milk, she began to chug it, washing down the bread crust. Her gaze fell upon the letters chiseled onto the tombstone. DEARLOVE.
Beloved gestured to the stone. "My mom got knocked up with me on top of that stone. Cool, huh?"
For a moment, Dina understood what it was to drown, wet, strangling, burning in the lungs that swelled in her throat and sinuses until she coughed, and the pink milk sprayed from her lips and nostrils to soak into the soft white bread.
I am a 30 year old American musician and writer with a passion for tea and anything odd wherever it can be found in life. I live in a Colorado suburb. Links to my previously published stories can be found at my blog,http://ceemartinez.blogspot.com/ or you can feel free to tweet me at:http://twitter.com/DazedPuckBunny
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