Towelhead

Towelhead by Alicia Erian Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Towelhead by Alicia Erian Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alicia Erian
cellophane. At first I thought it was candy, but then I pulled it out and saw that it wasn’t. It was rubbers. A long strand of them. Durex, the package read. Extra Sensitive . Super thin for more feeling . I ripped one off and stuck it in my pocket, then put the rest back. Downstairs in the living room, I asked Zack if his dad was going somewhere.
    â€œWhy?” he said.
    â€œThere’s a duffel bag in the bedroom.”
    â€œThat’s in case we go to war with Iraq,” Zack said.
    â€œOh.”
    â€œIt could happen anytime. He has to be ready.”
    â€œIs it going to happen soon?”
    Zack shrugged. “I don’t know.” Then he turned back to the TV.
    I sat down on the couch then, feeling worried. I started to wonder if Mr. Vuoso really could die. Daddy had been talking a lot about the possibility of a war lately. He was really excited about it. He said, “Saddam is a bully. He can’t invade another country and get away with it.”
    When Mr. Vuoso walked in the door that night, I stood up and smiled. “Hi,” I said.
    He didn’t smile back. “Everything go okay?”
    I nodded.
    â€œGood to hear,” he said, and he walked in the kitchen.
    I didn’t know what to do then, if I should follow him or sit and wait for him to come back.
    â€œYou can go now,” Zack said.
    â€œShut up,” I told him, and I pretended that I was watching something on TV. A couple of minutes later, when Mr. Vuoso still hadn’t come back, I let myself out the front door.
    At home, I was upset. I didn’t even feel like having an orgasm. I tried to think of a reason to go back to the Vuosos’, and when I couldn’t, I went over there anyway. Zack opened the door. “What do you want?” he said.
    â€œI need to talk to your father,” I told him.
    â€œAbout what?”
    â€œJust get him.”
    He looked at me for a second, then turned and yelled, “Dad!”
    â€œWhat?” Mr. Vuoso called back.
    â€œJasira wants to talk to you!”
    He didn’t answer, but a few seconds later, he came to the door. “Yes?” he said, standing behind Zack.
    â€œCan I talk to you in private?” I asked.
    He was quiet for a second, then said, “Zack, why don’t you go upstairs and start your homework?”
    Zack left, even though I could tell he didn’t want to.
    â€œWhat is it?” Mr. Vuoso asked, his hand on the doorknob.
    I didn’t know what to say then. I guessed I thought that he might say something—or do something—if I just set it up so that we could be alone. “Well,” I said finally, “I wanted to thank you for not telling my father about yesterday.”
    â€œYesterday,” he said. “What was yesterday?”
    I looked at him. He seemed so different now. “Yesterday,” I said. “In the guest room.”
    â€œNothing happened yesterday,” he said. “Don’t worry about it.”
    I was quiet for a second.
    â€œIs that all?” he asked.
    â€œI guess,” I said.
    â€œAll right, then,” he said, “we’ll see you tomorrow. Have a good night.”
    He shut the door, and I stood there on the porch for a minute. After a while, I went home and locked myself in my bathroom. I took Mr. Vuoso’s condom out of my pocket and hid it behind the Comet with his wife’s tampons. Then I sat down on the edge of the tub and started to cry. I knew from health class what condoms were for, and I knew that if Mr. Vuoso got called up, Mrs. Vuoso wouldn’t be going with him. That could mean only one thing, which was that he was planning to love other people. I just didn’t understand why it couldn’t be me.
    For the rest of the week, it was the same thing. Mr. Vuoso came home and asked me how everything had gone, then went in the kitchen. I didn’t know what to do. I thought about calling him or writing him a letter, but I

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