Monday, February 18, 2013


            She didn’t go to the wedding. She was invited, but she didn’t go. Let’s be friends, penciled in his hand. That slant back scrawl she knew so well, written on my heart, she would have said once.
            Don’t be maudlin, Jane would have said, Jane the practical friend, the stalwart neighbor, the wise woman, the shrew. His word for Jane. He and Jane shared a mutual dislike. Jane was reliable to a fault, and the fault always included him.
            She didn’t go, and she didn’t tell Jane about the invitation or the wedding. She could let it go.

            When she pulled on her leathers that morning, she was still not going. Who got married at eleven o’clock in the morning? A Catholic wedding. St. Agatha of the Agnostics or some such thing. He wasn’t Catholic. What business did he have . . . STOP.
            She snapped on the helmet, revved the bike, and went. 10:30.
            He’d be squinting in a mirror now, tugging at the tie, the man who never wore a tie, suited up for his whore. She laughed at the thought.

            There was the church, limousine already in front, parking lot full—St. Agnes, not Agatha—but it was the place—door open, June sun pouring down the aisle. She drove around the block—bungalows backed up to the church, a couple of girls with chalk drawing on the sidewalk. She slowed down. Neither girl looked up.
            Made a second pass. Heard the organ, dum dum te dum. She gunned the bike, paused beside the limo. The driver, suited up like a groom, reading, didn’t look up. Gunned the bike again. The driver didn’t move.
            She went around the block again. The girls with the chalk had drawn a purple house the height of three squares—three stories—and were putting in windows, doors, and green grass at the bottom—playing house.  
            Back at the limo. St. Agnes doors still open at the top of the steps. No music, words now, promises—the bike roared—the limo driver still a statue. She went around again, back with the girls playing house, one of them crying now. What happened? She slowed, didn’t stop. The girls are like she and Jane, and she knows who’s crying.
            One more pass at the church. Limo man standing at the side of the car now, people on the steps, rice, noise, music.
            She didn’t look, but the bike knew the rhythm, roared and drove away.
            He didn’t see her—never saw her. She hoped he didn’t see her. Hoped he saw her. No hope. Doesn’t matter. She wouldn’t tell Jane.
            Where’d you go? Jane will say.
            For a ride, she’ll say. Get the kinks out.           
            Good girl, Jane will say.
            Almost true.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

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