Segment 12: When a Third World Came West

I was sitting on the lid of the toilet seat that both my brother and I shared in our adjoining bathroom with the wooden door that led out to the pool deck. Scott was on the other line listening to me bemoan the fact that Sam had gone up on a trip to Georgia and that I wasn’t sure if he was still on board for coming with us, David and I, up to North Carolina to my school where Elon: “Fighting Christians” was. Ugh. Hoorah. I had kept my balance thus far with my right foot on the side of my left leg, painting my toenails blue but then I heard someone scream and remembered that the Hollingshead’s kids Lisa and Molly were over swimming in our pool and I heard splashing and I heard the dog whining by the grill and smelled from the cracks in the upper part of the door’s glass that Jim was cooking salmon on the grill. My stomach rumbled. I looked across at the yellow shower curtain with the bathtub ring forming on its bottom and said to myself that I’d bring in the Tilex next time I took a shower.
“I just don’t know now,” I said to Scott. I finished painting my fourth toe. David knocked on the bathroom door. “Just a sec,” I yelled. “What do you think?” I wanted Scott to hurry up and give me an opinion.
“I’m sure he’ll come back on time. When are you leaving?”
I sighed. “Wednesday. I have to move into the house so I have a lot of unpacking to do plus I have to get a bed. I don’t know where I’ll get a bed. Wish you could come with us. I think we’re going the round about way, up the mountains.”
“Yeah I’ll have to visit sometime. You should be safe. Have you told your parents your taking him?”
“No. I don’t even know how I’m gonna get around David. I’m gonna just say he’s a friend of a friend from school who lives around there and ask him to help us drive.”

Sam got back a few days later. He called me from the Greyhound station before nine and my brother and I drove over to pick him up. He rubbed my back from the backseat the whole way home, didn’t say much, and when we got past Minnehaha Park he looked at the one-stories to the right of the neighborhood street that was around the corner from the streets that intersected my road. I saw his black duffle bag unzipped in the back grey bucket seat with his black buttoned organizer sticking out above his white v-neck undershirts. The humidity came in from my passenger window and the hairs at the top, above my eyebrows started to curl under the heat that had made the top of my forehead wet. A trans song started playing on the radio and David turned it down to tell me if I’d heard that a friend of his was moving back in on Seneca and I thought I’d heard it from a friend of mine who lived two fifteen minutes away, by my old high school but I thought it’d be nice to grab a beer with him, play pool, talk about old times, high school, teachers, classes. “We’re leaving Wednesday Sam, you coming?” I didn’t look back to see his expression. The median from where David had stopped to turn left from Horatio was dark and hard to see and I could see the red lights coming closer from some cars as he waited, and David felt safe to make a left and listen to what Sam said.
“Sure….sure. Why not?”


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