Expensive jeans and the newest styles of desert boots and sneakers shuffle in front of us. My eyes follow denim up to a zipper then to a pocket stuffed with a hand. A blue T-shirt with a Rolling Stones logo covers what appears to be a flabby abdomen. I gaze up at a face that distorts from my angle. The guy peers down. He’s not attractive, but not ugly either.
“You have the coolest hair,” he says to Stacy.
I’ve never considered Stacy’s hair cool to be honest. Guess I’m just used to it. But looking at it now I can see what he means. Far past her shoulders, it’s parted in the middle and each side gleams copper in the setting sun.
Stacy leans back and lifts her chin. “Um thanks. We live on the other side of the park.”
“You two from Slum Hill?” the short guy blurts.
“It’s Sloan Hill, “ I snarl.
“Don’t mind him, he’s a dickhead,” says a scrawny guy, swiping at a thick head of hair too big for his body.
“You know someone around here?” the not attractive but not ugly asks.
“Nope.” I wonder the same about him. But he gazes at Stacy like he wants her to answer. Like I’m invisible.
“Your school the one being torn down?” he tries again.
Stacy does a hair flip. “Yep. We’ll be going to Carver this year.”
“Oh yeah? That’s our school.”
“What’s is like?” Stacy asks in her polite, doltish way. “Are the teachers strict?”
“Depends on who you get. Some are cool. Some are assholes. It’s sure gonna be crowded this year.”
The group continues down the road in their boy-pack parade.
Except for him.
“I could grab the keys and give you a ride home if you want.” He brushes aside straight bangs. “It’s a long walk to Slum−I mean, Sloan Hill.”
“You live near here?” I ask.
He lets out a laugh. “Yeah, real near.”
He points to my dream house, and the robin’s egg blue convertible parked in the carport.