Todd, her brother’s best friend, has been her only buddy for weeks now… and he persuades Tanya to join him watching the newlyweds in the house on the corner. On weekends, the newly-marrieds fuck late mornings. A yellowish meek curtain frames their bedroom window like an invitation. Days have been so boring, humid and long, and looking around for stuff to do—they’ve run out. Paul has been away at technical camp, gone six weeks, and will fly home tomorrow.
The newlywed woman looks to be about a hundred pounds of extra weight or else pregnant, with cellulite on her thighs and butt… and the man has long hair. Plump women like to wear black. Todd and she spy from the crook of the plum tree. Tanya has come to enjoy spying, but sometimes says, “Yawn.”
This one though, the one they see today, is memorable. The wife gives the husband oral sex, kneeling on the floor as though by a drinking fountain. Todd catches on to what is happening first, says “Shh!” even though Tanya isn’t talking… his mouth rounding into a nest.
Watching it makes Tanya squeamish, so she watches Todd’s mouth and her face gets hot. To quiet her pulse, she thinks about her brother’s face, her brother’s return. They watch until the end. Then they slide off the tree.
Todd and she have simply run out of things to do. They’ve played board games and computer games and skateboarded at night.
Today is the day—they’d printed and signed a contract to dash across the train tracks thirty seconds before the train the Sunday before Paul came home. They both like the idea of spicing things up and pissing off Paul when he finds out. Overall humidity is nearing one hundred percent, and Tanya says, “We should be wearing goggles and flippers it is so wet.”
Todd’s hair is longer than hers and probably makes his neck hot. He looks like a girl, tall and angular with model straight gold hair and see-through skin. His eyes are the blue of pool lights. People think Todd and her brother are fags, and they are used to it. They even laugh.
Tanya knows she is pretty because the boys at school do not talk to her. Todd does, and for this reason, until her brother gets back from music camp, Todd is hers.
She imagines Todd will notice her electric magnetism when she drinks from the Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill bottle. Todd brought a beat up and rusty corkscrew, and she brought the wine from her brother’s closet… only she coughs when Todd is concentrating on twisting the corkscrew in just right, and the explosive sound… a cough like her mother’s, messes things up. Some cork penetrates the bottle.
“Fuck,” he says, and shoves the bottle into his mouth first, gulping loudly, a lot of it, and spats cork like tiny fish.
“What time is it?” he asks. He has a stopwatch, but not a real watch like Tanya. She doesn’t answer and takes the bottle into her mouth, wrapping her lips and slugging it. It tastes like Robitussin. He’s not looking at her, trying to dig something from his pocket. She feels as though she’s going to throw up, and counts silently with her eyes closed.
Todd rarely smiles. She feels sorry for him because of his massive overbite which has never been corrected, his only physical flaw.
She tries to hear what Paul will say about the two of them watching sex and then, getting a bit drunk and running in front of the train… only she’s losing track of why she’d tell. Todd farts and laughs, then makes a “phhht” sound with his tongue and teeth. Tanya swallows a few sharp cork bits. Maybe she’s never felt so adult.
“Hurry,” he says.
They walk briskly to the tracks. It is almost time, it is almost.
He moves in close to her and touches her shoulder, and she is not her brother. Yes, he kisses her on the lips quick and dry. As in movies, she looks up into his face. He promises to run in front of the train right after her, five seconds later, counting loudly.
He says when done right, you can feel cooling in front of the wheels—shade crawling up your legs.