Tender Graces

Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie

Book: Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kathryn Magendie
each other’s hands with the other. “And call their parents.”
    Helen led us to the kitchen, tsk-tsking under her breath. She didn’t call at first; she was listening to Aunt Ruby carry on, same as me.
    The bottle thudded on the table. “Dead! Up and dead on me! He was drunk on that damned Old Crow.”
    Boyd said something I couldn’t hear. Micah stared out of the back door at the shed. Sirens screamed up the road.
    Aunt Ruby was saying, “ . . . and he must-a fell off’n the second level. He landed on that old rusted-out pole. Weren’t any tires on it to stop it from going right through his belly. I could see his guts, oh lord help me! His eyes was bulgy and blood coming out his mouth and nose and ears! Oh, what will I tell Pooter-Boy?”
    The sirens were right outside. The police only needed to look for the ugliest house with broken-down cars in the front.
    Helen turned around and asked, “Micah, that’s your name isn’t it?”
    The sirens stopped.
    “Yes Ma’am.”
    “Do you know your phone number? And tell me your last name.”
    Micah told her and she dialed.
    My breath stayed inside, filling up my head until it was light. Momma or Daddy had to answer.
    Someone was knocking at the door.
    Helen said, “Mrs. Carey?”
    I let out all my breath. Momma had answered the phone. She was at home.
    Boyd went outside. Micah and I sat with our hands in our laps, waiting.
    Helen said, “You need to come quick. Arville’s been in a horrible accident.” She looked at us. “Yes, so to speak.” Then she hung up.
    While Boyd was outside talking to the police, Micah shook like I’d never seen him, even when Momma and Daddy were in the worst fights. Helen went over and hugged him hard. She said, “You precious things look like you’ve been in a heap of hurt.”
    I nodded. I wanted Fionadala to hold on to.
    She sighed and held on to Micah.
    “We’re okay,” Micah said, but he didn’t push Helen away.
    Boyd came back in the kitchen. “Bob and his boys are here.”
    Helen smiled at us and I saw how crooked her teeth were, but I didn’t care. She said, “Well, I’ll get some supper warmed.”
    Another siren screamed, and then the noise stopped outside. Aunt Ruby gabbered to nobody and burped some more. Boyd went outside again, and I went to peek out of the screen door. Policemen and other men went in and out of the shed.
    “Sweet girl, you come help me,” Helen said.
    “Me?”
    “Yes, you.”
    I grabbed a spoon and stirred the potatoes until they were steamy again. I picked up the pie and set it on the table. Micah stuck his finger in the cherry filling, looked at it, and then wiped it on his jeans. There was a pot of green beans getting hot and bubbly, so I put butter in, like I’d seen Aunt Ruby do. I sliced up the bread. Helen made sure I didn’t cut myself. Boyd came in and told Aunt Ruby to go outside with him.
    She said, “I ain’t got nothing to say. I’m tired. Want to stay on the couch.”
    Boyd said with a crunchy gravel voice, “Get up, woman.”
    Aunt Ruby whooshed out her air, said, “I’m coming; you ain’t got to be such a sonuvabitch.”
    I took the beans to the table and when I turned, I saw men come out of the shed with a covered lump. Helen closed the door, even though it would get hot with no air coming inside. She said, “Let’s get this table filled up.” While I put the plates on the table, I heard Aunt Ruby outside, hollering. “You taking him now? Taking him away?” She bawled like a banshee.
    Boyd came back, washed his hands in the sink, and sat back at the table without saying a word. Soon as the sirens headed away, Aunt Ruby was back inside in a flash; bumping around a bit before she was finally quiet.
    We were busy with food, hands and plates going everywhere. I hoped Aunt Ruby stayed in the living room so we could be with Boyd and Helen. I had my hope. None of us hardly touched the food, but we tried. Micah sat and stared at the grease soaking into the potatoes.

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