The Summer of Winters

The Summer of Winters by Mark Allan Gunnells Read Free Book Online

Book: The Summer of Winters by Mark Allan Gunnells Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mark Allan Gunnells
consider them, and my mother popped me one on the back of the head, knocking my hair back out of place. “Mike! You know I don’t tolerate name-calling in this house.”
    I hung my head, face burning with shame. Not for what I’d said, but for saying it in front of my mother. “Sorry.”
    “Don’t apologize to me; apologize to your brother.”
    “Sorry Ray,” I said, but I refused to meet his gaze.
    “I have half a mind to put you on restriction and not let you go see this movie tonight…but I suppose I can cut you some slack this once. If I hear you call your brother anything like that ever again, I’m gonna bust your liver.”
    Bust your liver . That was my mother’s standard threat. I never really understood what it meant, plus she never laid a hand on me and Ray in anger beyond a pop on the back of the head or a swat on the butt, but the threat remained effective anyhow.
    “And you,” she said, turning to my brother, “stop jumping around and hooting like a monkey. Now it’s just the two of us tonight, so we’ll play some games.”
    “Hungry Hungry Hippo?”
    “Sure, if you can find the marbles.”
    Ray ran off to our bedroom to pull the game out from under the bed and search out the little white marbles. My mother gave me that on-the-verge-of-tears look again, which made me feel rather uncomfortable, but I was saved by the bell. Or by the knock, to be more precise. A rapping on our front door.
    My mother answered. Paige stood there on the stoop, dressed in a simple white dress with a matching ribbon in her hair. She looked very pretty. Brody was standing back near the sidewalk, wearing a pair of holey jeans, a white T-shirt, and a brown Member’s Only jacket despite the warmth of the evening.
    “Well, don’t you look just lovely,” my mother said to Paige.
    “Thank you.”
    “The movie lets out around nine,” Brody called from the edge of the lawn. “I’ll bring him straight home.”
    My mother thanked him, then much to my monumental embarrassment she leaned over and gave me a big kiss right on the side of the mouth. “You have a nice time.”
    She stood at the door and watched as I walked with Paige and Brody back to their house, where Mr. Moore’s long boat-like Chevrolet was parked in the driveway. It was painted a muted yellow, and I’d heard Paige jokingly refer to it as a “lemon-sine.”
    The front seat was a long, bench-like thing, and the three of us all piled up front. Brody driving, of course, me sitting by the passenger’s door, and Paige in the middle. It took Brody three tries to get the car cranked, and it chugged and rattled like something dying, but he pulled out into the street and we were on our way.
     
    ***
     
    I had been to the Capri Theater only once before in my life. Two years prior the school had given out free tickets to some old Disney movie called Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I couldn’t say I’d enjoyed the movie too much, but there was something about the experience itself—sitting in the darkened theater with a group of people, watching the film on the big screen—quite literally larger than life—that was almost magical. I’d been dying to go back ever since.
    And now here I was, and seeing a movie I actually wanted to see. I just hoped that you didn’t need to have seen the second Superman movie for this one to make sense because they hadn’t aired that one on TV yet.
    Despite his worry that he might not have enough money if I tagged along, Brody ended up buying popcorn and sodas for all three of us, and even a box of Goobers for me and Paige to share. The Capri’s lobby/concession area was quite small, people packed in like crayons in one of those 64-piece Crayola boxes. There was actually only one theater that seated less than a hundred people. I’d heard about a couple of multiplex theaters in Spartanburg, but the Capri was all Gaffney had to offer, and it seemed plenty impressive to me.
    We took seats near the aisle in the middle of the

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