Literati! Just five more stories to post, and we can select our finalists to our contest Love Lost. One of our favorite writers got her entry in just under the wire (as so many of you did!) Sit back with me, and let’s watch the desert grow together. Here is
by Stefanie Allison
Putting his hand on her casket was the first time he’d physically touched our daughter in years.
I tried not to notice when Beth adjusted her brassiere in front of the pastor. It was heartening to realize her successor won’t be doing this at Pearl’s wedding.
I eyed the back door of the church. She said she’d be there soon afterwards.
I tightened the lace shawl around my shoulders as the pallbearers began to roll it away. Her.
Everyone else disappeared into the desert outside the church once the pastor made an emotionless gesture that vaguely resembled the Sign of the Cross.
Now it’s me and him.
That thought once caused tsunamis. Now it just made my throat parched.
“Thanks for coming,” I said.
“Of course I would. She’s my daughter.”
“I barely had enough money to get up here,” he said. “Last few years have been tough.”
Funny since he never paid child support. I wiped my forehead with my lace shawl.
“Aren’t you upset?” he said.
“Our daughter is just about to be buried and you’re just standing here.”
“Well, sorry I’m not grieving to your satisfaction.”
“You need to let it out.”
“You hated it when I let it out. Especially when Sherry called the apartment that once.”
“Well, thanks for screaming at me at two in the morning about it. Waking up Pearl in the process.”
“She won’t be waking up ever again.”
A woman just over six feet tall walked in, wearing boots, black jeans, and a black button down shirt began to walk down the aisle. Her long curly auburn hair was pulled into a tight ponytail, unable to mask the way her eyes narrowed at Tom. Tom took a few steps back towards Beth but stopped.
“That’s not what I came to tell you,” Tom said.
“Well hurry up; Beth seems excited to get to Mammoth.”
Not my fault she’s got a big mouth. Probably why he married her.
“…I just wanted to tell you that you look beautiful today, Miranda. The years have been kind to you.”
Teenage pregnancy, divorce, single motherhood, and now a dead daughter. Yes. The years have been kind.
Tom and Beth finally rushed out, and Grace approached me. She tugged on the lace shawl.
“You better get home and change. That’s not a practical outfit for tonight.”
“I have a change of clothes in the car.”
“You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?”
“Every bit as you and the group are.” Grace smiled a little and nodded.
“Tell the park ranger you’re with us to avoid parking fees.”
When I got to my car, I took the shawl off. I’d oblige Grace by wearing something else, but I was taking the shawl with me. That way Pearl could see for herself how beautiful I look in it.
When I pulled the black-blue t-shirt with the words “RED ROCK PARANORMAL” over my head, I turned the car on and drove north from Mojave.