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I remember the look

By Linera Lucas

I remember the look between my father and a woman with upswept hair. My father and I sat on a black vinyl bench in the lobby of the Orpheum Theater. Mother was not with us; she must have been weeding the garden or resting on her white couch. I remember it was the middle of the week, and that there were questions I did not ask my father. Why was he here with me instead of at work? Why did we sit in the lobby instead of going in to the matinee of Fantasia? It was enough to sit next to him. His tweed jacket smelled of citrus aftershave and tobacco.

The heavy door of the auditorium swung open and a woman walked past us, her high heels clicking on the tile. My father squeezed my hand and we stood. From the back I could see that the woman was tall and her blond hair rose in a beehive. When she turned to face us, her skirt swished and rustled.

Now I bend my brain backward to scour the moments around the look. How did my father stand, were his arms outstretched, or at his sides? The woman's face was not sad, but satisfied, as if she had just won a silent argument. She turned and left the lobby, her heels clicking again on the red tile. If she had not looked back at us, would we have followed her out of the dusty movie theatre, into the suburban air, the wet sidewalk shining in the afternoon? I remember my father took me for ice cream and I tasted vanilla and salt.

 

Linera Lucas holds an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and has had work appear in Pipes and Timbrels, R-KV-R-Y, Bede's Journal, and the anthology In the Yard from Old Mountain Press.

Image adapted from the photo "Which is when I woke up in a strange room 2" courtesy of Maarten De Vries, Maassluis, Netherlands.

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