What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница

always made us go in places and buy things. I followed her into the store. I hadn't been in there in months. Mama walked down the aisles, looking for the box that held the

1 2 5

L U V I C K E RS

kites and string. She picked up four of each.

We walked back to the front of the store. Mama laid the kites on the worn counter and sat her purse beside them. As Mrs. Bevis rang up the kites, she caught Mama's eye, then nodded over at me. "Home sick?" she asked.

Mama looked surprised. "Why, no," she said. "I What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница'm not sick at all. I'm taking my children out to fly kites."

Mrs. Bevis raised her eyebrows, the way she used to raise them at Daddy when he brought me in to buy slingshots. I wanted to say, She meant me, Mama, but I was too scared to say anything, thinking I might give her away. I could tell Mama's being in this store was part of an act. She was trying to be normal.

"You know," Mama said. "I have spent entirely too much time indoors lately. And I bet you have, too." She What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница glanced around the store. "It's awfully dark in here. Let me buy you a kite, and you come on and fly it with us. It's nice and sunny outside."

Mrs. Bevis laughed, then pushed the kites across the counter to Mama. "Honey, I got to work."

"Well, some other time," said Mama.

We drove back home and went into the house to get tails

for the kites. Mama rummaged through the closets the way she did that day she took us butterfly hunting. She found

a sheet and tore it into long, thin strips, and we tied knots What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница into them. Then we unfurled the paper kites and put them together, attaching the tails. Looking at the brightly colored kites, I thought of the butterflies I had pinned into my cigar box, wondered if today was going to end in disaster.

She drove us to the field. She wore short shorts and she climbed out of the car and I expected her to say, "Just look at 1 2 6

B R E A T H I N G U N D E R W A T ER

them and let them go," the way she had with the butterflies, but she What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница didn't. She said, "Don't let go, don't let go of the string or your kite will fly away and we'll never catch it again."

I hadn't been in that field since the day I'd watched Rae with those boys. I'd stayed away from it, as if the place but not what had happened there was painful. Even though the memory had faded, as I walked over the grass, kite in my hand, I could still remember the warmth of Rae's breath on

my cheek just before she kissed me; I could hear the What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница boys' voices, talking her into walking off with them; I could see her lying in the grass, her legs bone-white against that blue sky. I felt my heart beating fast, the way it beat when I ran home that day, the way it beat later when I found out that Rae's mother had lost herself in the woods, had stopped talking, had gone crazy.

Our kites whipped high into the sky, and we held on to them, the wind washing over us like waves of water, and it was kind of like being underwater. The wind was What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница blowing so hard. It was not easy to breathe, and I thought maybe Mama was trying to drown us in all this air, not just me this time. Maybe she thought we were babies who couldn't breathe in the wind.

Then, for some reason, all of the kites were loose and they were flying together in a bunch like butterflies skittering across the air. Mama ran after them, trying to catch the strings, but the strings were slithering across the ground like snakes and the kites were moving up and away from us and there was no What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница way she could catch them. I ran after them;

I ran toward them instead of away from them; I ran as if I could make up for the time I kept my butterflies and made Mama cry; I ran toward the edge of the field where Rae had 1 2 7

LU V I C K E RS

lain; I ran fast so Mama wouldn't go crazy again; I ran to make up for all of my mistakes, but the kites lifted up and away from me, drifting out of my sight. I fell to the ground. Mama came and stood over me, her What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница red hair blowing wildly. I couldn't see her face. The whole blue sky hovered empty above us.

1 2 8 21

Me and James and Maisey stood on the carport next to

a row of boxwoods arguing about who got the windows in our two-tone Fairlane and who got the front seat. Mama had been home for a month and we were going to Panama City Beach to try her out—see if she worked okay. Daddy said



we should all act normal; there wasn't any sense in acting different. Life goes on, he said, you just have to What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница go along with it. It was as if he was talking about a tornado, a flood, or a hurricane, something that would just sweep you away. Those were the kinds of things you just had to go along with.

Daddy lowered the ice chest into the trunk and we heard Mama talking to herself inside the house. "I don't want to go; I don't want to go. Don't make me go. Listen to them fight;

they'll put me right back into the hospital."

I could see her sitting at the kitchen table, running her

hands through her hair What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница, tears streaking her face, her nose red and runny. Mama always did that. Every trip we ever took started with Mama not wanting to go, messed-up radio waves or not, unless it was her idea. And then something would go wrong anyway, like it did the day she took us out to fly kites. L U V I C K E RS

Daddy patted his khakis to make sure he had the keys

before slamming the trunk closed, then he yelled at us to

shut up and walked back into the house, the screen door slapping shut behind him. James What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница got his pocket-knife out

and began carving his initials into the wooden cornerpost

of the carport. Tiny wood shavings fell to the concrete slab.

I sat on the porch steps and waited to see if maybe Daddy would come back out and get the ice chest. Maybe Mama was having another breakdown. Maisey sat beside me, sniffling and blubbering.

"She's gonna go," I said, "so stop being a baby." Maisey was eleven, but she still believed everything anybody said. She believed me and she believed Mama. She believed James when he stepped back from the pole, his silver What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница knife glinting, and said, "I'm gonna cut this old wood pole in half and the roof's gonna come down and flatten the car." That started a whole new wave of tears.

James finished carving his initials into the pole, and

Maisey stopped crying when Mama and Daddy walked out onto the porch. Mama's eyes were puffy and red, but she smiled at us, the way you smile when you want everyone to think you're okay. "Aren't y'all ready to go yet?" she asked. "What are y'all waiting for?" Daddy said. "Get in the car What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница, and no fighting about the windows."

Maisey jumped into the backseat next to a window, then

me and James elbowed each other by the back door. He won; I had to sit in the middle, my feet on the hump, my knees jacked up in front of me. Daddy backed out of the driveway and we headed down Satsuma Street, windows down, our hair blowing in the wind. Motion calmed us; our anxiety fluttered out the window like scraps of paper.

1 3 0

B R E A T H I N G U N D E R W A T ER

Mama liked country music What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница. At home she always tuned

the radio to WSBP, a station stuck in the middle of a cow pasture just outside of River Junction. Her favorite song was "Honey" by Bobby Goldsboro. It was a slow sad song about a woman who died. Mama cried every time she heard the

words "And honey I miss you, and I'm being good." Bobby Goldsboro's grandmother was a patient on Mama's ward. Mama gave Bobby Goldsboro's grandmother a bath once a week. She hoped Bobby Goldsboro would come to visit, but he never did. She still liked the song What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница. When it came on the radio at home, she would stop ironing and sing along, tears running down her face onto the ironing board where they hissed when she ironed them away.

James rolled his eyes when Mama turned the radio on. "Why can't we ever listen to rock 'n' roll?" he said loudly to the whole car. He could never just let things be. Daddy shot him the evil eye in the rearview mirror.

Mama turned the radio up loud. The twangy music seemed to make her feel better. We reached the end of the street and Daddy What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница turned onto Highway 20. Maisey leaned her head against the door and fell asleep. From the backseat, Mama and Daddy looked like girlfriend and boyfriend, Mama sitting close to Daddy. I imagined them holding hands, like they were in 1-o-v-e, just riding in a car full of strangers, but both Daddy's hands gripped the wheel. His brown hair danced in the wind. Mama bobbed her head to the music.

I wanted us to be the way we used to be back when Mama was happy, but I wasn't sure when that was.

1 3 1

L U V I What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница C K E RS

Heat rose off the pavement in dizzy waves of light. I looked over Mama's bony shoulders at the road narrowing in the distance. Way ahead, the pavement looked black and wet, but when we came to that part of the road, the slick black strip would disappear and the road would be dry. When we'd been on the road for about an hour, James fell against me asleep, his mouth open, his brown eyes visible behind tiny slits in his eyelids.

For the next fifteen miles we were quiet, just listening to

the wind What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница and the radio. Then I saw the sign: Snake-a-torium, 5 miles.

Maisey leaned forward and tapped Daddy on the shoulder. "Let's stop at the Snake-a-torium."

Mama said it was too expensive, even though she didn't know how much it cost. I wondered how she ever expected to go to Cypress Gardens or Weeki Wachee. Did she think they'd let her in free? Maybe if she'd gotten the Miss Florida title they would've. But she didn't. This was her chance to see some real tourist attractions. Daddy was trying What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница to give her something; this was better than the monkey by the river.

We passed another sign. Snake-a-torium, Right Ahead.

Maisey tapped Daddy on the shoulder again. I leaned forward, looking out the window. James woke up. "Stop, Daddy," Maisey said.

Daddy slowed down.

"Dwayne," Mama said. But Daddy was as bad as us.

Once you put an idea into his head, he couldn't shake it. He coasted to the driveway, then swung the car into the gravel parking lot. The Snake-a-torium was a short white building. All along the front was a concrete What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница-block wall with holes cut in it for decoration. Behind the wall were glass windows

1 3 2

B R E A T H I N G U N D E R W A T ER

and behind those must have been cages filled with snakes. Daddy cut the car off and looked at Mama. "Let me just see how much it is."

When Daddy got out of the car, Mama turned around to look at us. She sighed loudly, then threw her arm over the back of her seat and patted my knee. "It wasn't any fun at first," she said, "you What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница know, being in the hospital." She smiled and lowered her voice. "I felt like Frankenstein." She made a googly face to go with what she was saying. "After they zapped me a few times I felt better, almost like another person, except for feeling like I'd been kicked half to death by a mule. After that, though, we started having fun."

"You had fun?" I said, thinking of how it had been to see her at the hospital, to know that she didn't even recognize us.

"We went on field trips. Places children would go," Mama said, laughing. "They even What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница took us to the Junior Museum. I hadn't been there since before Maisey was born. There I was with about ten other crazy people, wandering around the Junior Museum, looking at the pigs and cows and sheep like I'd never seen them before. I felt like Lucille Ball."

She acted like being crazy was her ticket to tour Florida the way she'd always wanted to. She'd gone to the Junior Museum and petted goats.

We sat in the car waiting for Daddy to come out. James opened his door and swung his legs What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница out. Mama twisted the rearview mirror sideways and looked at her face. "Y'all know we can't afford to go in there. You can see snakes for free." I hated her for saying that, even though it was true, and glared at the back of her head. She caught my eye in the mirror and held it. I felt like she was trying to pull me out of myself,

L U V I C K E RS

draw me inside her like a breath. I looked away.

Daddy came out of the Snake-a-torium shaking his head.

He leaned What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница into the window. "It's too much, gang. A buck fifty a pop. You won't be able to ride the roller coaster if we go in here."

We got out of the car anyway. James stood up and stretched. Maisey opened her door and got out. I climbed out of the car and followed James up next to the building. We all put our hands on the white concrete blocks.

"Hear 'em?" Maisey whispered, her eyes wide. She dropped her hands and stepped back. Daddy leaned against the car smoking a cigarette and watching us.

"I hear 'em What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница," James said, making a rattling sound with his tongue.

I listened. Faint rattling sounds came from inside the building, or maybe it was the leaves rustling in the pecan trees next to the parking lot. I put my ear against the concrete block. It was like putting a seashell next to my ear to hear the ocean. I heard all sorts of sounds—slithering, rustling, rattling. I could see the snakes curled up in their cages, coiled to strike.

"I hear a diamondback rattler," Maisey said. "He must be seven feet long."

"Come on," Mama hollered from What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница the car. "Let's get out of here. It's hot as hell." She fanned her face with her hand. We piled back into the car and pulled off, the gravel snapping, the wind hissing as Daddy accelerated down the highway.

B R E A T H I N G U N D E R W A T ER

Daddy drove down the oyster-shell drive to the Bida

Wee cabin. There were three small bedrooms and a yard filled with straggly grass and sandspurs. Even though the cabin was a block away from the beach, you could sit on the What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница porch and hear the waves rolling in.

We unpacked the car, and Mama and Daddy went in to

the kitchen and started making baloney sandwiches. Nobody wanted one because if we ate them, Mama would make us wait an hour or two before putting on our swimsuits. Me

and James ran outside and Maisey sat on the porch listening to the waves. The first thing I did was step on a sandspur, and when I bent over to pull it out of my foot, I spotted some lizards crawling in the bushes next to the cottage. I got an idea. I caught one of What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница the lizards and held it next to my ear. It bit down and hung on. I scooped up another one and stuck

it on to my other ear. I laughed out loud, thinking how funny I must've looked. I walked slowly onto the porch, the green

lizards dangling from my earlobes like earrings. Maisey screamed and Mama and Daddy ran out onto the porch.

A year ago Mama would've thought I was funny. She was the one who made up stories about lizards carrying pennies in their throats; she was the one who made up stories about why What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница their tails broke off when you tried to catch them. Now she was a lizard, changing colors every five feet.

"My God," Mama said. "Get out of here and get those

damn things off of you." I stood there smiling, thinking she would see how funny I was in just a minute. The lizards' long green bodies hung limp as weeds against my cheeks.

"Get out," Mama screamed. 135

L U V I C K E RS

"Go on," Daddy said, "you heard her."

I turned carefully so the lizards wouldn't fall, but one

of them dropped to the cool concrete What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница slab and ran toward Maisey. She jumped on top of the wicker chair she'd been sitting in and her foot punched right through and she scratched her leg. Mama ran after me, smacking me so hard on the back of the head that the other lizard flew across the porch and landed on the screen, a black silhouette. When I stopped to rub my head, she slapped me hard in the face. James ran onto the porch, scooped the lizard into his

hands, and carried him out. Mama and Maisey both started crying. "I want to go home What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница," Mama said. Daddy circled her with his arms the way you're supposed to hold someone in water when you're saving them from drowning. Part of me wanted him to let her go; another part of me wanted to save her myself. They floated away from us.

James walked back onto the porch, flashing his palms at

us. "The lizard's gone," he said calmly. "Everything's going to be all right, Mama. Please stop crying."

Maisey rubbed her leg; a thin line of blood beaded on her skin like stitches in cloth. "I'm okay, Mama. I was scared What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница." "Let's don't go home," I said. "I didn't mean to hurt anybody."

"You're always saying that," James said. "Why don't you just stop acting stupid?"

"Let's go inside and eat like normal people," Daddy said. Mama calmed down after we ate, but she wouldn't let us

go near the beach, so Daddy decided to take us all for a ride down the Strip. We had to keep moving if we were going to stay normal. We were like tops spinning across a table; when we slowed down we got wobbly, dangerously close What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница to 136

B R E A T H I N G U N D E R W A T ER each other.

Daddy drove up to Alvin's Beach Memories, a souvenir shop. I didn't get excited because we never bought anything; we just walked through the air-conditioned store, the air musical with wind chimes, and we played with everything like we were at somebody else's house. When we walked into the store, Daddy put on a sailor hat and a pair of yellow Mickey Mouse sunglasses and wobbled back and forth like a bear. Maisey and What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница I traipsed around as if we owned the place; I looked at dead baby sharks bobbing in jars of blue formaldehyde, their tiny, white teeth set in jagged grins. Maisey slapped around on flip-flops decorated with red plastic flowers while James raced down the aisles with a green plastic alligator. Mama unfurled a beach towel with

a map of Florida printed on it, snapping it like a flag, and Daddy fingered an air plant growing out of a conch shell like whiskers.

Off in a corner of the store I found a toy hula dancer. I looked around to What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница see if anyone was watching, and pulled her out of the box. She wore a real grass skirt. When I squeezed her belly, her lime-green bathing suit top flipped down and her titties popped out like balloons with pointy red nipples. I laughed to myself. I squeezed the hula dancer over and over and over, until I heard Mama calling my name. Her voice grew closer and closer. There was no way I could get the dancer back into the box before she caught me, so I quickly stuffed her into my shorts.

Mama stood before me. "Come What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница on," she said. "What were you looking at?"

My eyes went right to the empty hula dancer's box. "Nothing," I said. "Did you find anything you wanted?" I 137

LU V I C K E RS

pressed my hand against my belly as we walked down the aisle to make sure the hula dancer didn't fall out. In my head I was praying Please, God, don't let me get caught. I didn't breathe until I walked outside and climbed back into the hot car, the hula dancer digging into my belly.

Daddy pulled onto the Strip, the Fairlane chugging along

in What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница traffic, a plaster duck in a shooting gallery. We passed the amusement park, the wooden roller coaster, the Spider, the Tilt-a-Wheel, the Ring of Fire, all whirring and spinning like the inside of a clock.

We drove past Goofy Golf, the big plaster dinosaurs and Kon-Tiki men towering over the car and headed out toward

St. Joseph's Bay. We were near the bay bridge when James saw the sign: Boat Rides: $3. A red arrow pointed to a small wooden shed next to a dock that jutted out into the bay.

Little wooden boats with motors What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница bobbed in the brownishcolored water. Brightly colored sailboats skimmed the water

like kites.

"Daddy, stop," James shouted. "Let's go there." Mama and Daddy swiveled their heads to the left. It looked like something we could all do.

"Three dollars, Katherine," Daddy said to Mama. "Why

not? The kids haven't done anything that cost money all day." He flicked the blinker on and when there was a lull in traffic glided the Fairlane down the oyster-shell road into the sandy parking lot. James swung his door open before the car even stopped. We scrambled out of the car What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница, ready for our first real adventure of the day. I'd never been on a boat and could see myself zooming around the bay, the throttle wide open.

We ran up to the gate and stepped inside the shack. An

old man stood behind a counter at the far end, selling tickets 138

B R E A T H I N G U N D E R W A T ER

and giving instructions to a man and a little girl. People leaned over tables piled high with dried-out shark jaws, shells, and T-shirts.

"Oh no," Mama groaned. She What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница pointed to a sign hanging above the counter where the old man sat drinking a coke. The man and the little girl walked outside and got into one of the boats anchored at the dock.

"Three dollars per person," Mama read out loud. "I thought all of us could go for three dollars."

"Let me go." James said, "I've never been on a boat."

"I want to go," I said. "I never get to do anything. I'd rather do this than go to the stupid Miracle Strip."

"Please, please, please," James said, tugging Daddy's arm. Maisey What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница started in. "I wanna go."

"Would y'all please, please, please, please, please, please, please be quiet," Mama said. Her face was tight. We all knew what that meant. Please, please, please.

Daddy took a long, deep breath. "Christ," he said. "Can't

we ever go anywhere?" He looked away from us. For a couple of seconds we all kind of stared at the dirt. "You kids are just going to have to deal with it. It costs too much," he said in a tired voice.

James screamed, "I hate you, I hate you," and turned away from Daddy.

Maisey held Mama What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница's hand. "Let's me and you go, Mama.

I've got fifty cents."

Mama bit her lip; tears welled up in her eyes. People

stopped looking at the shark jaws and started looking at us. The old man watched. Past the door, I could see the man and the little girl steering their boat out to the middle of the bay, water rippling behind them.

LU V I C K E RS

"Dwayne, I can't stand this," Mama said. Her voice had

a trembly sound, like a radio station losing its signal. James looked up at Mama and out What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница at the wooden boats shifting side to side in the water. He stepped toward the old man; I could see what he was thinking. If he could just get through the door he could steer the boat, and when he came back everything would be okay.

"Wait a minute, James," Daddy said. "Christ. Christ. What in the hell is this? All this damn fighting. What the hell's going on? What is this?"

Nobody said anything.

"Go sit on that bench over there." He waved his hand at

us. "All of you. And I don't want to hear a word What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница out of a one of you, not a word. Not for the rest of the day. Your mama and I are going out on one of those boats and I want y'all to be quiet by the time we get back."

"Come on, honey; it'll be me and you, just like old times. Let's get on that boat. Come on." He took her by the arm and guided her across the dirt floor to the ticket booth. Tears ran down her face. Daddy fished the money out of his pocket, paid the man, and walked Mama What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница out the screen door and onto the dock toward a blue boat. At least I had the hula dancer. I pulled her out of my shorts and held her close so

no one would see her.

Maisey swung her legs back and forth and James covered

his face with his hands. I watched Daddy help Mama into the boat, one slender leg after the other. She sat down and Daddy put the orange life jacket over her head, careful not to look in our direction. Mama wiped her tears with the back of her hand and Daddy put on his What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница life jacket and started the motor. They pulled away from the dock, just the two of them.

1 4 0 22

After OUT beach trip, Mama started feeling bad again and got it in her head that changing her hair color would change her mind, make her happy. "To hell with these pills," she said, tossing a bottle of lithium into the trash can. She stood in my bedroom, holding a wide glass jar of Dippity-Do up to the

light, looking at the bubbles in the green gel. "Your hair can determine your personality," she said, wagging the jar at me. "If What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница you don't believe me, come to the hospital sometime. The ladies who get their hair done each week are not as crazy as the ones who just sit there with a rat's nest perched on top of their heads." She set the jar of Dippity-Do down on my dresser. "It's order, Lily, and what better place to start than with the hair on your head? Let me tell you," she said, "being a redhead has brought me nothing but trouble. People take one look at my hair and expect me to misbehave, and then I can't disappoint What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница them."

She'd experimented with her hair before. She went

through the wig stage before she'd had a nervous breakdown. At the height of it, she had about ten different wigs, of all LU V I C K E RS

cuts and colors, from black wigs that flipped at the ends to blond shags, to brown ones that frizzed out like poodle hair. I had to admit that the wigs did seem to have a certain power. Daddy put a blond wig on at the beach once, and he climbed on top of the picnic table and did What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница a hula dance.

At the end of the wig period, James painted scary faces

on Mama's styrofoam wig heads, then hid them in the utility room off the carport, where both the wigs and the heads were slowly being eaten by roaches.

Almost every other woman in Chattahoochee had gone

through that phase, too—women with straight hair wore

curly wigs, women with curly hair wore straight wigs, black women wore blond wigs. Women who didn't want to go all

the way wore falls, long pieces of blond or black or red hair they pinned onto the backs of their What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница heads like horsetails.

Mama said wearing a curly wig had made her feel spunky.

"So imagine," she said, "imagine what changing my actual

hair color will do. Look what it does for MayBelle Carr," she said. And Mama was right. MayBelle Carr dyed her hair jetblack and drove around town in a long gray Eldorado. She

was about a hundred and fifty years old. Once a couple of patients had escaped and tied her to a chair and stolen her Eldorado, but not before they asked her to come on and go with them. "You sho' are a good-looking woman," they told her What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница. "What are you? Twenty-eight, thirty?" She told everyone the escapees were perfect gentlemen; if they hadn't been wearing pajamas, she might've gone along, they were so polite.

Mama went up to the Dollar Store and bought ten

different colors of hair dye, everything from Midnight Black to Sassy Blond. Then the next weekend when Daddy and

1 4 2

B R E A T H I N G U N D E R W A T ER

Maisey went to Tallahassee, Mama decided to let me and James help her dye her hair to surprise him when he came back. "Let What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница's see," she said, looking into the medicine cabinet, where she kept all the hair dye. "What color do we want to go with? Hmm"

She picked one of the brunettes because she liked Jackie Kennedy. We went into the kitchen so we could use the sink, and James and I knelt on chairs on either side of Mama. We poured the dye into her hair and rubbed it in. After twenty minutes or so, she rinsed, then dried off with a towel. "Let's take a Polaroid of it with Maisey's Big Shot," Mama said, "so I can What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница see how it'll look." She put her hands on her hips. Smiled at the camera. Brownish-colored water ran down the back

of her neck. James took the shot and Mama studied it as it developed, holding the picture up close and then far away. She decided she didn't like that color—it made her look mousy, she said—and she decided to try the blackest black, the Cleopatra Black. She leaned back over the sink while James and I kneeled again on either side of her, rubbing the color into her hair.

When we What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница were done, she dried her hair, then cocked

her head to one side and smiled while James took another Polaroid, but she didn't like the black, either. "It's really too, too much like Cleopatra," she said, so she decided to bleach it out. Something happened, though, with the peroxide and the dye. When she poured the peroxide over her hair, instead of bleaching it white, it splotched her hair all up—like fake leopard fur. She stared at herself in the mirror and her face crumpled and she started crying. I thought, Oh no, here we go. Back to the What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница hospital.

Дата добавления: 2015-11-04; просмотров: 2 | Нарушение авторских прав


documentbblsswf.html
documentbbltagn.html
documentbblthqv.html
documentbbltpbd.html
documentbbltwll.html
Документ What Mama Wanted in life was to cruise around Florida like a Yankee tourist in a Cadillac convertible, Jimmy Dolan at the wheel. She wanted to wear dark sunglasses and drape a parrot-green scarf 7 страница