Social Patterns

 

I took my dearest friend in the world with me to my favorite place in the world, our old family ranch in Montana. There was a large outdoor picnic table covered in a white cloth that was held down flat, impossibly so as the hanging edges were luffing in the wind. There was a big white tent over the table like an outdoor wedding but everyone’s hair was behaving. I walked out onto the lawn and sunk into muddy water.

The grass was saturated and I fell down to my chest. The bottom was covered in broken concrete as I waded back to solid ground. I spoke to her about the horses and all of the things we could get up to and children listened to me talking, asking if they could come too.

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My mother was there, and so many people who had come in from town. People who were talking about her, saying that it didn’t matter, she was the only woman at the party who was single. I guess my friend didn’t count, or maybe it was a conversation meant only for adults. Either way, it didn’t matter.

I walked with her through a crowd of boys, people on top of people. This one or that one was cute, I kept telling her, but she didn’t like anyone, and said they looked like they were ten. One boy, with curly blonde hair that was too dense, groused at me for being in his way. I stepped aside, but felt him following directly behind me. I pretended I didn’t notice and slowed way down.

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He was with a friend carrying something heavy, and they were increasingly upset with me. We reached an impossibly tall fence made of reddish wood planks. I grabbed the top rung and sailed over in my dress, pulling Katy over with me. They were impressed with us, they had misjudged us and said cruel things in their heads. That we were less capable, that we were less. My dress was pink silk, I can only remember my friend by her face.

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