Big Marky opened the Motor Trend issue and looked over the article on that engine work that he had been waiting to read for a month. His room was always too dark, since there was only a bulb dangling from a bare electric wire from the far end of the room in the trailer.
His father was in the other room watching the soccer game with the volume turned all the way up. Big Marky usually thought about how he had to wear headphones when he was playing his games so his father wouldn’t be disturbed, but that loud screaming from the fans and quirky commercial music about Medicare plans weren’t supposed to bother him.
He got up and closed the door. It had been different before his Mom died. His Father used to play the video games with him sometimes. Now, the old man was like a bear in hibernation. He could not be reached for simple things. Marky didn’t even see him eat.
He thought about Sori. She had been in his car today. Her scent had filled the Town Car. She was wearing something that smelled like lilacs. It was as light as she was. Marky closed his eyes and thought about her. She had been his friend and fetish since the fifth grade.
They had just graduated. She was on the debate club, in student government and in the Key Club. She made straight A’s. What was he thinking? Reopening the car magazine, he forced himself to think about putting in a new exhaust manifold. He had heard that would give him some more power.
Four and a half blocks away, Sori was packing her suit for the college interview. She would have to travel across the state. It wouldn’t be the first time that she had made a trip for school. She had no worries. On her dresser, next to her lighted mirror and her little music jewelry box, stood a picture of Lully, Big Marky, Gar and herself. Loni had taken the picture. They looked like family. They were.
Sori sat on the bed with her picture and looked closely at it. These friends would not go with her. She knew that the college was about to offer her a scholarship. She would begin her studies as a legal student in the State capitol. It was the best location for her to begin her career.
Sori thought about Lully abandoning her fascination with alcohol and focusing on her piano playing. She was glad. She looked back at the picture. Big Marky. Why did he always look at her like he was imagining her with him in an embrace? They had known each other since they were kids, and now she realized how little she really knew about him. Could she really go? The local community college was also offering her a free ride.
Sori thought that if she stayed, she could keep an eye on Lully and make sure that… What could she do, she asked herself. Lully was her friend, but this was her future. Sori stated down and the picture and rubbed the image with her thumb.
The music shook the small garage next to the small house on the suburbs of Miami. Gar lived there and Loni had most of his stuff there. Loni and Gar went over the music again and again. They were going to the talent show at the Legion Hall in a week. Gar’s Dad had promised that he would buy them a PA if they won first place. They just practiced. Gar closed his eyes. He thought of Lully. At the graduation ceremony, she had been sober. Gar’s Mother had said that if it was true, love would endure. It had sounded so corny, but for some reason, he couldn’t forget it.
Across the city, in a nice two bedroom apartment, Lully’s Mother listened from the kitchen. Her daughter had not had any alcohol for a day. She had watched her closely. She had sent a Western Union message to her husband. Lully was playing the Three Part Invention, and her Mother smiled. She went to the linen closet and slowly pulled out her oils. Her easel was behind the vacuum and there was even a blank canvas. She would paint again. She wanted to paint a seashell, pink on white sand.
Lully lifted each finger in sequence. The precise touch needed for this piece was like touching a hot surface. She needed to lift and release at just the right moment. She let the music go away from her and then come back. When the music came back, she was in control with all of her mind. The rest of the time a circuit was created between the notes on the pages, the feeling of the keys on her fingers and the sound in her ears. All of this power moved something inside her that left her open and so full of peace and joy.
She finished the piece, took a breath and started again.