Here around Tampa sometimes Leo and I have been on a horseback ride. We love animals and sight of hay and dirt, even if we don’t have skill for riding. Down Brandon Way, past all the supermarkets and dollar discounts and Kentucky Chicken drive-ups, there is pastures and quiet country.
Jesenia juts out her lips as she runs her tongue over her teeth. She probably tastes chalk—she wrinkles her face at the tang of it. She does not answer the nun, but stands and walks to the arched entrance of the church. She cups her hand and says, I’m so totally sorry but I’m freaking gonna die if I don’t. She leans down, drinks from the holy water.
My uncles have raised me ever since my widowed mother ran away from Break-A-Leg and left me behind. Josiah is all business and worms. Obediah is unpredictable and moody. It’s hard to tell whether he’ll yank me off my feet and waltz me across the boggy ground, or whether he’ll have one of his tantrums about waste and warmongering. He’s got a glass eye that he likes to pop in and out when he’s thinking hard about something.
The sun is bright and hazy and hot, so this young couple decides to put their feet in the water. The water is warm, so they wade farther in. Past the shells and the gritty froth of the breaking waves, the sand is soft and slick between their toes, like velvet.