First frost


 First frost, and I walk among the rose-fruit. My nose is red, like the red, red, rose. I am crying. I am not lost, but first frost means it will soon be impossible to leave. It is now or never.

 Evan packed her overnight bag that night and left through the unlocked back door. It was after 11; mamie and pap-pap were sleeping in front of the TV, with an ad for Ginzu knives blaring. The sight of rapid precision tomato slicing is the last thing she sees before she leaves home without a plan.

There’s no point in going back, she says at midnight, sitting in the bus station.

What exactly do you think would happen if you did? she says at 2 a.m., just outside of Cline’s Corners.

 I guess it’s too late now, she says as the sun comes up in Lubbock Texas and she is sitting at an IHOP, pretending she likes coffee.

It was a very little while later that a man on a motorcycle parked in front of the IHOP and came in, sitting down with Evan. He took her coffee away and took a sip of it, flagging down the waitress. He ordered milk for Evan, waffles, bacon and raspberry syrup. “Raspberry, right?” he said to Evan, who knodded.

“Kid, what do you think you are doing?” he said, when the waffles were half eaten and Evan not looking so much like a mangy cat in her skinny leg jeans and her anime lavender hair.

“Leaving, what do you think?” Evan said and picked at the safety pins on her short denim jacket.

“Okay, genius, I got that. Where do you think you’re going?” He lifted his coffee cup at the waitress, but kept looking at Evan.

“I don’t know. You know. Wherever I want.” Now Evan is crying again, her 12-year-old face looking more like eight with raspberry syrup and tears running down and off her chin.

John stopped talking again and lit a cigarette. Got the check and paid while Evan kept crying, wiping her face with the raggedy end of her extra long shirt sleeve.

“Well, come on over, stay with us for awhile, maybe we can figure something out.” She buried her head in her arms for a minute, then got up and went to the ladies room. He waited for her out on the curb, figuring she’d make up her mind based on whether there was a window in the bathroom or not.

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