Current word count: 8,574
“Do you guys wanna walk instead of taking the bus.” Roseland asked.
The three of us were standing with all the other kids waiting for buses to arrive. Some of the kids had backpacks on their backs others had them over one shoulder or another and some had their bags on the ground in-between their feet.
“It isn’t that far,” Roseland continued, “and if we cut across the cemetery it will be even shorter.”
I felt something like a heavy metal ball drop deep into my stomach and for a second I thought I was going to throw up. The cemetery by the school was the same cemetery where my brother and mother were buried. I had not been there since the day I threw dirt onto her casket and watched as they filled the hole. Her casket had been white and gold. No one not even Wendy knew that I never visited my mother’s grave. Wendy didn’t even know that my mother and brother were there. My face must have had a strange look because both Wendy and Roseland were staring at me.
“What’s the matter?” Wendy asked. “Are you afraid we will see a ghost?” She made a booing noise like little kids do when they are trying to be scary.
Honestly, yes I was afraid of seeing a ghost. Two ghosts, but I wasn’t about to admit that. I wasn’t about to admit anything.
“No. I’m not scared of anything. I just remembered I didn’t get my homework back from Mr. Thurman and I need it for a test.” It was a really weak excuse, but they both bought it.
“So, do you wanna walk?” Roseland asked again. “I just hate the bus especially after we pick up the junior high kids. There’s nothing worse than junior high kids.”
“No joke. They’re lame. Boys and girls” I said, agreeing with her completely. “Let’s just walk. Wendy?”
“Yeah. Let’s walk.” The three of us grabbed our bags and began to follow Roseland. “Do you guys have any money? Do you think we can get an ice cream cone at the Thrifty’s?”
“Ice cream? In October?” I said, looking at Wendy.
“Yeah. It’s not that cold yet.”
She was right. It wasn’t that cold yet. It didn’t really get cold until November around Thanksgiving. The October nights were cool and would continue to get colder as we moved closer to Halloween, but the days only had a slight chill. I felt like it was too much of a chill for ice cream, but Wendy and I had different blood, and I was pretty certain hers was a lot warmer than mine.
“The Thrifty is kinda outta the way.” Said Roseland.
And that was the end of Wendy’s argument.
We walked along the side of the rode on the dirt and gravel sidewalks. We didn’t have real sidewalks like they did in cities, just little dirt paths created from kids walking on the side of the road for years. Sometimes we had to walk on the road because of a ditch or something, but it was usually okay and safe because there were never a ton of cars. We passed the trailer park near the school and as we rounded the corner we could see the Rogers’ house. It had a big front yard that was long and wide. The grass came right up to the street. The house was set far back away from the road. There was a long gravel driveway, but they had so many cars on the lawn it didn’t look to matter if a person used the driveway or not. The house was one story and it was white. It looked tiny compared to the lawn. It seemed like too small a house to have as many people as was in her family, but I had figured that people had to live how ever they could live, even the Rogers. I felt my lip curl a little in annoyance. I didn’t want to have any feel sorry thoughts for the Rogers. It seemed to me that if any one of them had been around when my brother died then they deserved all the hard luck and too small houses they could get. I didn’t feel sorry for them or their crummy lives. If their lives were crummy, and I hoped they were.
“Look,” whispered Wendy, “There’s Angel Rogers.”
Angel was sitting on the car seat of an old truck. It probably was once inside the rusted ford that was parked and slowly getting swallowed by a wild black berry bush at the side of the house. She had her legs up on the seat and had one foot crossed over a knee. Her foot bounced like it was moving to some music.She was wearing dark purple capri leggings and bright neon green jellies that matched her green and black mini skirt. She had a baggy black cut up t-shirt that she wore over a purple tank top that she belted we three belts on her waist. She wore a ton of silver and black bangles and had big round green earrings. She was reading a book and I didn’t know why that seemed so odd to me. A Rogers reading a book seemed like a cat barking, it just didn’t fit.
“She dresses so cool.” Wendy whispered. “Just like Madonna.” Wendy was looking at Angel like she actually could be Madonna sitting on some white trash lawn on some white trash broken ford front seat car cushion. Very Madonna like, I thought bitterly to myself. I pulled at the black jellie bracelets that I wore on my wrist. I knew I had a little tinge of jealousy at the way Angel looked. I knew it wouldn’t be that hard to do something similar, but I wasn’t ready to give up my long black skirts or pants that matched with my long sleeved black shirts and sweaters and my black shoes. My grandmother would probably have a heart attack if I wore any color especially something as bright as neon green.
“Do you like Madonna?” Wendy asked Roseland.
“Okay?” Wendy gasped.
Okay. I thought. What does she mean okay?
“I like Michael Jackson.” She said.
I guessed I could understand that, but then on second thought I decided I couldn’t and just as I was about to argue my case as to why there was no way to compare Michael Jackson to Madonna there was a loud, “Hey!”
We all three stopped walking and turned to look in the direction of the yell. Angel was standing on the lawn with one hand on her hip and the other dropped at her side and holding onto the book she was reading. She always stood like she was a teenager. She crossed her legs like teenage girls and she talked like teenage girls. My mother would have said she was trying to hard to grow up too fast. Wendy’s mother would have called her a slut.
“What are you doing?” She called the question over to us. “Why are you standing on my lawn and walking on my property?”
She was about to get on my nerves. Scared or not scared I decided if she tried anything I would take my chance to just try and hit her.
“Um”, Wendy began…
“Um, What?” Angel said mimicking Wendy. She walked over toward us and I thought that this was it.
“We’re going to my house.” Roseland said, with a hard and snotty tone in her voice. “And, we’re not on your lawn we are on the street which is city property.
Angle stood right in front of us with an intimidating frown on her face. “I know,” she said, and then suddenly she smiled. “I’m just kidding. Where do you live?” She asked looking at Roseland.
“I live down the back road behind Billy Lane near the creak.” Roseland still had a firm tone to her voice, and I mentally cheered her on.
“Oh where all the hippies are living.” She said looking at Roseland knowingly.
“Yea.” Said Roseland. “My parents are hippies.
Wendy leaned toward my ears and whispered, “What’s a hippie?”