Jaine

A 15-year old girl with long dark hair is walking out of a grocery store with a plastic bag. It’s straining to hold her Orange Juice and Hi-Chews but promises not to break because Orange Juice would be an awful mess to clean up on sidewalk. The girl begins walking home. She lives on the outskirts of Napa California where her parents are gormet cheese-makers (Both Cooks from the Napa Culinary School) and don’t drink wine. They live in a large farm estate with five children, two in college one on a mission in Brazil. We come back to the girl walking home, making flop-sucky sounds with her flip flops. Flop-suck flop-suck and the crunch of pebbles on the country lane. It’s a California-winter day; a gorgeous 69 degrees with cherry blossoms lining every corner. This girl’s name is Jaine, and Jaine is sleepy from the gently warm weather and she thinks she’ll lie down by her open window, after she puts the Orage Juice in the ice box. (Jaine’s mother loves old and vintage things.) Jaine thinks of lightning, wondering if she’ll see any thunderstorms this summer. She’s always wanted to make Thunder Cake, like in that Patricia Pallaco book. She walks past horses and chicken coops with birds song darting over her head. Some friendly sheep stick their soft noses through the green metal bar of their enclosure. Jaine thinks of Matt Kearny… Because he’s a good singer. Then she thinks of the neighbor kid down the road, (With the Shetland Pony Farm), who looks like him but lacking the skilled vocal chords. He’s yummy all the same though. The bag’s getting heavy with all that Orange Juice sloshing around in it’s container. She switches hands. The distant white building is suddenly close. A brick chimney climbs up it’s side profile, and it is a white… well farmhouse. Jaine sees an invisible boy swinging on the porch swing, but it could just be the breeze. She goes inside, puts the Orange Juice in the vintage ice box, tosses the ugly plastic thing and heads upstairs with her Hi-Chews… Opening the bag with her teeth because the dang slit isn’t there. She pops one out of it’s wrapper and into her mouth. She’s got to finish Spanish 1 homework, then eat dinner. Which is brown-sugar salmon she can smell her mother concocting downstairs. After that it’s club volleyball practice at the middle school. But first, a nap by her window, where the cherry blossoms may fall onto her floor.

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