Two little girls experience a night of sheer terror when they venture out on a Halloween night in 1984 Detroit.
caught my hands and began spinning with me. We laughed and danced in the middle of that field. We were standing in patch of mud and our shoes were getting dirty. I knew Momma would be upset about that, seeing how we didn’t have a lot of money and she valued the importance of making shoes last.
“So what?” Benny said.
“Benny, you are promised to Sandra, not Billie,” Harry said, folding his arms.
“Who’s Sandra?” Billie asked. We had stopped spinning around. I was dizzy, my hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath. A frown appeared on Billie’s face but I suspected she was more curious than jealous.
“Sandra is his cousin,” Louie said matter-of-factly. He dropped the match on the ground and stubbed it with his toe.
“Why on Earth would he marry his cousin, that’s gross?” Billie said. She made a gagging noise and I giggled.
“Not in our world. It’s not gross, it’s normal,” Benny said. He shook his head as if he understood something now. We were standing on the edge of the world. I recalled then how as a child, when I came to fields like this with Momma, her and I standing on the edge of the curbs, pretending that the street was water and the grass was water and the tiny slab of cement was a standing beam. We’d take turn to see who could make it the farthest without falling off.
“If that’s your idea of normal, then pretend like I’m a ghost the next time you come around me,” Billie said. She took some dirt and threw it at Gary.
Gary brushed the dirt off his shirt and said, “You see, this is what you’re willing to put up with. All in the name of being right? That’s crazy! That’s fucking crazy!”
“So are we, standing out here! I’m tired of being forced to take sides,” I said. I didn’t know where the anger came from but I felt my hands clinching. I wanted to lunge at all of them. I wanted to scream and scream until someone took me home.
“I’m with you too, Dora,” Benny said quietly.
He came over and handed Gideon to Billie and a twenty-dollar bill to me.
“You get that baby safely to a hospital. I know there’s one not too far away,
at least I don’t think,” he said. He walked over to Gary’s car and opened the door. Benny sat in the backseat, his head turned away from us, his hood covering his saddened face. He slumped down until it looked like he was dead except for the rise and fall of his chest. I wanted to lay my head down next to him but then I realized I wasn’t Billie. Once again, I envied her.
“We’re leaving now, Dennis,” Louie said. The boys began to toss their cigarette butts and slick back their hair with combs and pull up their pants over their rising behinds. Gideon coughed a little in my arms. The boys headed toward the car. Out of everyone, Dennis was the last person I would have expected to stay with us.
The Persian boys kept calling him but he wouldn’t move. He was brave, that Dennis. Standing beside the likes of two crazy girls and a homeless baby.
One by one, they stood there, their backs to the moonlight behind them. They climbed into the car, a scrape noise that pierced my eyes as they pulled their car away from the other one and sped off down the street. I couldn’t believe that they were actually leaving us. I ran out into the street after them. Louie stuck his head out the window, the very same seat where I had sat at. He waved at me with a look of guilt on his face. I waved back to them but they kept going. I should have run after them screaming but I did nothing. I was like Billie now; nothing about this evening surprised me anymore and I knew that once Billie and I parted ways with Dennis, we would never see those boys again.
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