One More Stop

One More Stop by Lois Walden Read Free Book Online

Book: One More Stop by Lois Walden Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lois Walden
Proud prick. Screwed around. And she still loved him. Why do people get married?’
    ‘Many reasons.’
    ‘Name … never mind. Here’s another question. If two people make each other miserable, why on earth would they stay together?’
    My sister had the answer. Night time … ‘They loved each other. He adored her. Did you ever notice how he looked at her?’
    ‘Are you dreaming? He didn’t love her. He was dismissive, cold, never had anything nice to say about any of her friends, especially Mrs B. Why on earth did they stay together?’
    Dina thinks out loud. ‘They had a … a kind of love. History. They never knew life without each other.’ Dina stares at our silhouettes on the wall. ‘Shadows. That’s it. They were each other’s shadow.’
    For a moment, I feel wild, like the old days. ‘Come on. Let’sget high.’ Roll it tight. Hand it off to my favorite straight-as-anail person. Deep inhale. Don’t let the paranoia seep into my brain.
    ‘Three blind mice …’
    ‘Come on. Let’s get out of here. Go to Ralph’s.’
    ‘Ralph’s in New York.’
    ‘Ralph’s supermarket. Put your loafers on. We’re going shopping.’
    Down the hill. Talkin’… Talkin’… Talkin’. Into the Food Emporium. The fluorescent lights blaze, the cash registers chime. Grab a cart. Great night for the Greene girls. In the candy section. I spot our favorite: Lindt dark chocolate with hazelnuts. Slide off my left clog. She slides off her right shoe. I reach for two chocolate bars. Place one bar in her shoe, the other in mine. Slide our feet neatly back in place. Nuts crack under foot as we hobble down the paper goods aisle, grab some Scott double-ply toilet paper. Ready to leave the scene of the crime.
    Checkout line. The cashier rings up the toilet paper. The store manager walks up to the cashier, whispers something in her ear. My sister pokes me hard with her elbow. The manager smiles at us. We smile back. My heart races. The nuts crack in my clogs. My sister is close to handing over the chocolate bars. I give her the dirtiest look of her short-lived crime-ridden life. The manager walks back to his cubbyhole. We bag the toilet paper and run for the door.
    Jump into the BMW, take the chocolate bars out from inside our shoes, eat the stolen goods. We beat the system.
    Drive up Laurel Canyon; Joni Mitchell’s on the radio. Dina grabs my hand. ‘Promise me something.’ I savor the yummy luscious chocolate. Turn up the volume. Sing along with Joni.Dina grabs my arm. ‘Promise me that if I’m not here and things get bad, if you’re afraid …’
    ‘If ifs and ands were pots and pans …’
    ‘… that you will find me. You will call me. You won’t do anything foolish.’ She does love me. It’s not a substitute for a mother but …
    ‘I’m right here, baby. You’ll always be my baby.’
    ‘I promise.’ Dina changes the station. The Ronnettes sing ‘Be My Baby’. I turn it off … Dina stares at me. My mother continues jabbering. I take a deep breath, relax into the madness … turn the radio back on … ‘ Be my be my baby … My one and only baby.’
    My sister knows that something other than the song is playing in my head, but she can’t hear it.
    ‘Whistle, daughter, whistle ;
    Whistle for a pound.’
    ‘I cannot whistle, mammy,
    I cannot make a sound.’
    ‘She adored you.’
    I change the station. ‘I know.’

Denver: The Blizzard of ’03
    (Snow Tires)
    Four p.m. March 17th, 2003 … My plane arrives at Denver International Airport. I have a spur-of-the-moment teaching assignment wedged in between Iowa (Huskers) and Nebraska (Buckeyes). Another detour in my Beatrice plans.
    My plane stops 200 feet from the United gate. We are forbidden to deplane. The baggage handlers have evacuated the area, because of one solitary bolt of lightning some ten miles due south of the airport. We’re talking one good union. An hour and a half later the lightning has passed us by. We are set free from

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