Golden Venture

by Emily LAWTON

Massy pulled up the driveway, in his car they called the Golden Venture. Its missing muffler was unmistakable. Virginia picked up her cane and walked to the bedroom window — she saw the car door open, and glimpsed the blonde halo of sun on Massy’s hair. She pulled the curtain back between them before he could see her. Virginia’s mother was downstairs in the kitchen. In a moment, Virginia heard the front door slam and the shrill screams of, “get out of here, she don’t want you!”

Massy, she knew, would lean against the car with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, kicking up some dust under his boots and looking patiently up to her window. Virginia walked over to the window, then turned around and went back and sat on the bed. Her mother wasn’t yelling anymore. The two of them might be talking, quietly, about her, or her mother might’ve gone back to her cooking and left Massy to patiently lean as long as he wanted. She knew he hadn’t gone; the Golden Venture would give him away.

She could go, get in the car with him, and drive off to some life completely unlike this one. Maybe that was best, or at least different enough to be worthwhile. She pulled her knee to her chest and took off her house slipper. Where her largest toe should’ve been there was a tight little packet of black stitches. The skin around the wound was still yellow and brown. It was his fault.

Virginia set her mouth, determined. She put the slipper back on and grabbed her cane from where it was hooked on the bedpost. She stomped slowly down the stairs, rehearsing what she’d say, silently mouthing the words. Her mother was at the bottom when she got there, drying her hands on a dishtowel. “I tried to tell him…”

“I know, I heard it,” Virginia told her. She took the proffered arm and the two of them moved slowly to the door. “Time for me to tell it.”

The bright sun burst into the kitchen through the front door as Virginia detached herself from her mother’s arm. She closed her eyes and stepped out to where Massy waited.

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