The sunflowers were especially high this summer, probably around five feet. Unfortunately, the weedy grass was also about that tall. She had already had to pull one tick off of the top of the head of her oldest son when all he had done was walk through the yard. Unfortunately Dewayne was probably not going to be home any time soon to cut the grass. In fact, she suspected that Dewayne would never be coming home again after what happened last time.
The old blue and white trailer in which they lived was so faded out on the outside that the blue part had almost melded into the same color as the white. Baby blue does not hold up well in direct sunlight, nor were her baby blue eyes which used to be so sparkly.
She was living in a Southern ghost town from whence almost every young person her age had long since escaped. She'd stayed because she had made three babies with Dewayne and now her future was pretty much sealed along with most of the buildings in that forgotten Hamlet on Highway 70 between Little Rock and Memphis.
She had worked and gotten fired from all three businesses within walking distance. And the Jeep Cherokee had had a dead battery for six months now. There was the video rental store, the Tasty Freeze, and the open-all-night gas station. Each dismissal had been Dewayne's fault when he found out there were other guys working in the same places. His default setting was to assume that if she was in the proximity of any other fellow her age, she was screwing him. This would lead to an explosive temper tantrum at her place of business, followed by the requisite ass-whipping, hospitalization for the unlucky coworker, a jail cell for Dewayne, her bailing him out, followed soon after by her termination.
Today was Monday, even though it hardly mattered to her what day of the week it was anymore. She was standing in front of the kitchen sink looking at the murky water in the clear bottles where cuttings of a pothos plant were growing roots which looked like they would keep the plant in one place for a very, very long time.
They call it blue Monday, but for some reason today was the bluest Monday she could ever remember. If the kids were back in school, it might not have been so bad. But having them underfoot all summer along with her being the sole caretaker was beginning to push her pretty close to the edge.
So she made a snap judgment. She went outside through the overgrown lawn to the trailer next door. This is where the McGhees lived, and even though she knew they really didn't want to see hide nor hair of her, she knocked on the door and asked Oliver McGhee if he could help jump start the battery in the Jeep. He said he wouldn't mind at all. She asked if he would come over in about an hour, and she went back home and packed her suitcase. She told the children to do the same just as if they were going to ma-ma's house. She put the suitcases and all of her Elvis records in the car just as Oliver McGhee drove over into her front yard in a good spot to make a connection. The Jeep started much easier than she had anticipated.
Once the car was started and the kids were all buckled in, she went back into the trailer, got about three weeks worth of newspapers, crumpled them up, set them under the trailer where the gas kitchen stove sat. Then she went back in the trailer and turned all the eyes on the stove on. As she was walking out for the very last time from this residence, she lit a wooden match and surreptitiously tossed it into the pile of newspaper.
They were about 2 miles down Highway 70 when she saw the trailer blow in the rear view mirror. As she had hoped and estimated, the explosion wasn't big enough to harm the McGhee's property, but it was plenty big to totally destroy her former domicile. Hell, it was paid for and she could do whatever she wanted with it, or so she told herself.
She had plenty of gas money to drive a very long way from the Delta in which she had been born and raised and never once left, but she chose to drive 15 miles to the next dead town, rent a worn-down trailer, get a job at the Tasty Freeze, and put some Pothos cuttings into some clear glass bottles which she placed on the windowsill just over the kitchen sink.
After all, surely once Dewayne had seen the real face of her desperation, he would come home and give her a hand with these damn kids.