I was beginning to see how the whole summer was going to be. Meals and Flora. Flora and meals. My father was away working at Oak Ridge, and we couldn’t go anywhere, and nobody could come to us. To escape Flora, who was already preparing supper, though we had hardly finished with lunch, I had gone to the garage to sit in the car abandoned after my grandmother Nonie’s death. I had been sitting there very quietly when a motorcycle roar shattered the stillness. I slammed out of the garage in time to see it buck over the crowning bump of our hill. It was a three-wheeled affair with a storage trunk behind. A skinny man with pointy features and close-cropped bright-orange hair dismounted, mouthing my father’s worst obscenity. But when he spotted me, he quickly socialized his face and called, “You folks have one holy terror of a driveway.” He wore khakis, the pants stuffed inside high lace-up boots.

“We’re having it seen to, now that the war is over,” I said haughtily.

“Well, it is and it isn’t.”


“The war. We still have the Japs to beat.” He looked past me into the open garage. “Oldsmobile Tudor touring car. Nineteen thirty-three.”

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