She rode shotgun with the window rolled down and her calf half inside the cab and the line of her shin, exposed, sun-whipped. She was a draper; limbs hanging over edges of chairs, the couch, his back. She reclined in sit-tall kind of places, sometimes with her shoes off, and one leg up, naked heel nestled between his legs.
The cab of his truck hadn’t sucked all the humidity out of the mid-July morning. A/C turned down as low as it could go wasn’t settling the steam. Impatient, as always, she rolled the window down and slumped even lower, and with one foot on the dash, the other found the air stream as they cut down Hwy 14.
An insistent little kick of her toe toward the sky looked like it was keeping time to the music when it was really keeping silent the tales of her whole life to that point. There’s no need to dramatize a story by letting it out of her mouth to be simplified and judged maybe misused or misunderstood in the re-telling over someone’s dinner table.
The side mirror captured the blue toe polish and his gaze roamed over her tan legs and skimmed the knee, stopped at the inside of her thigh where he paused to take her in. She was not the leggy type he usually fell for. This one was strong, not long, but muscled with dips and lines and hips he wanted to watch walk in front of him on a humid night at the county fair, maybe dressed and ready for a concert on the big stage.
He could see her there in the bleachers, black dress, black heels, head-banging a bit to the rock and roll drums, the sound of a song that come through the big speakers, songs that got them both through the road parties and breakups and hook ups and crazy nights of those college summers.
Of course, he knew he couldn’t really take her all in. She was something. She didn’t just breathe, she breathed him in in, she called the air to to her mouth, let it swirl inside her lungs, let it leave the taste of summer and the sweat of lovemaking on the back of her tongue.
She had a way of laughing in she sun, head back, hair streaming behind her. Then she’d kick off one shoe, and then other and lie back right there at the patio table at their favorite restaurant and put her feet up on the opposite chair, let her hands hang to her sides, palms facing up and take in a ray of sunshine like it needed to be on her form to call itself landed.
It was the summer she turned 44 and everything she thought she knew suddenly needed a scotch, neat, to make life a little more palatable.
#for Reticent Mental Property. Images courtesy of a previous life.