’72 Skylark, 9

“I don’t like people knowing about that,” I say, but I’m glad she’s interested. Gives her a good reason to keep talking.

“I was at State, same year as you,” she says. “Before I transferred. I heard what happened to you, but only because my brother told me. Where’d you get ‘Rick’ from?”

“My uncle had a horse named ‘Rick,’” I say. “They had to shoot him when I was twelve.”

Miriam blinks, takes another sip of her drink, and laughs again. “Middle-aged men are such poets.”

“Says Miss Cars-are-art,” I reply, trying to get us back on track. “What was that all about?”

“You were pretty good, right?” she asks, smiling. Talking about college gives her eyes the naive light of freshman’s eyes. Or maybe that had been there all along, and the smiling just helps me notice. “I never saw you play, but I heard you were good.”

My mind wanders briefly to trophies and deep kisses, wild cheers that felt tinny and synthetic in my ears, and the ache of an overthrown arm on Sunday morning. “I was fine,” I say. “Blew out my knee junior year. Wasn’t very good after that.”

“Sorry,” she says. I wish she sounded less genuine saying it.

“Forget it,” I say. Time to make my final push. “Why that car?”

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