I don’t believe what Daddy told me an hour ago. He’s not checking on things at the dairy. He’s out trying to find Mama. I’m sure of it. Daddy knows I refuse to turn twelve without her.
My legs move so fast, I almost forget Mama ran away. But my feet remember what Mama and Betty Beauty Bedford, her used-to-be bestie, told them months back. “Right, left, right left, up back,” they’d chanted.
Beauty had inhaled a ciggy from its ruler-long holder. “Pivot your knees, Emma June. Knock them together then point them out. You too, Carla,” she told my used-to-be. “And for Pete’s sake, move your arms. Let everything flow! Dancing takes away all your worries.”
Now, the Charleston ends. Victor Victrola’s needle ch-ch, ch-ch, ch-ch’s searching for something that’s already been used up. Like my memory at the end of carnival night. And Beauty was wrong. Worries still thump my insides.
Big Chief Tablet glares at me from the kitchen table. I tell it to shut up, that homework can wait till I’m good and ready.
Extra careful when I plant the needle a different Recording, I turn the crank again. The green and yellow squares of our sitting room rug melt together as I spin, and my braid pings one shoulder then the next like two different suitors asking to be my dance partner. My skirt puffs up like a wild mushroom, and it’s swoosh seems to say, “Everything will be right again, Emma June.”
“How do you know that when I can’t even remember?” I yell. Then I jump up and down trying to stomp out my stupid.
Excerpt from The Moonshine Thicket by CD-W
NOTE: For those of you who have been reading excepts from this novel, thank you! This excerpt if the beginning of the novel. I hope you liked it!