Even with the windows rolled down in my dad’s two tone, blue and white, four door Nova, the humidity and my father’s cigarillo smoke makes me feel like a licked sucker planted in an ashtray. My brothers and I beg our father to spend his lucky silver dollar on a Cherry Coke, but he refuses. On the radio the Tigers play the California Angels and Alan Trammel is up to bat. We ask him to change the station, but he refuses.
From my position behind the driver’s seat, I can see out the front window and to my left out my back seat window. The rearview window is blocked with the trunk opened wide, stuffed with two sandy inner-tubes from our day riding Lake Michigan’s choppy waves.
Just past Pfaff’s Pharmacy, only a couple of blocks from my father’s house, we spot a woman inch her bare feet down the three front steps of her duplex. She heads toward her sprinkler on the edge of the sidewalk. She is tall and lean with tan skin and long black Rita Coolidge straight hair. She wears only a yellow bikini.
I own my share of awkward make out sessions, a handful of breast touching experiences and one painful night of blue balls, but not enough to understand why this woman is capable of changing the tone of my day, will mysteriously steer my bike past her house everyday for the remainder of the summer, and will be recalled decades down the road.
My dad slows the car down. I sit up in my seat and stop breathing. Beauty is rare…..like spotting a pair of albino deer or sunflowers weighted down by October snow. My dad glides the car past her yard. Too soon, I can’t see her out of the back window.
He stops the car. I grit my teeth (a week before his impulsive nature garnered us an escort from the state capital for wandering its marble corridors barefoot).
He puts the car in reverse looking in the driver’s side mirror, and accelerates backwards at a steady clip. I can see her again through my window. My feet are pressed to the floor. He stops the car directly in front of her yard and idles in the middle of the road.
To move her sprinkler without getting wet she positions herself on the sidewalk with her back to the road. She bends at her waist toward the sprinkler. Her hair hangs almost to the ground. Her breasts, hidden in yellow bikini top, are somewhere between sweet and tart like Lemonheads. Her rear view yellow bikini bottom glows. In my mind, no more dad, no more brothers crowding me in the backseat, no more sidewalk or sprinkler, smoke or humidity, only her yellow bikini bottom lights my world.
She spots us gawking, stands up straight, spins around and glowers at us.
My dad opens the driver’s side door, it creaks. He reaches deep under the body of the car, pretending to search for something, pulls out his silver dollar as if it were a new find. He holds it between two fingers toward our super nova bikini clad lady. He looks at her, one eye nearly squinting shut, ashes his cigarillo on the pavement. Must be my lucky day,he yells to her. Her eyes soften, she smiles, turns, moves the sprinkle closer to the bush below her porch. My dad shuts the car door, drives on, and Trammel rounds second into a stand-up triple.
Aaron Brossiet had had poems published previously in The Mac Guffin, Sky Magazine, Mudfish Magazine, and online at Redneck Review. He won the 2010 Literary Life Bookstore poetry competition judged by Heather Sellers and was short listed in the 2012 Fish Short Memoir Prize judged by David Shields . He is an M.F.A. candidate at the University of Texas El Paso.