Looking At Her

He saw her through the screen door hanging clothes out in the back yard. The wind whipped up making the white sheets ruffle in the cool morning air.

The young man would just stand there and watch. Her thin body would bend over to pick up more clothes and then stretch to hang them. He’d look at her. Just look at her.

On Sunday afternoons they’d go for a ride in the Dodge pickup. He took good care of it. Always washing and waxing. She grinned from ear to ear when he opened the door for her. He made her feel special.

They’d drive down by the Ohio river on the Kentucky side. They used to skip stones on it. Sometimes he’d pick her up and dangle her feet in the cool water. She never wore shoes.

That all changed when she lost the baby. Blamed him for it on some days and blamed herself on nights when the moon was full and she stayed up looking at it. Made her wonder what she did wrong. Doctors, preachers, friends, told her it wasn’t her fault. Said it was nobody’s fault. Said these things just happened. Best you could do is try, try, try, again. But, she wouldn’t. She couldn’t.

She became cold and distant. He became withdrawn. The Dodge just sat out there, rusting. He’d think of old times, but he never brought them up.

He’d just stand there looking at her through the screen door.

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