the new Joe/Kabe book. I’m at about 65k words now. It’s only had one set of eyes besides mine read through, so it’s a little rough:
As I came up the narrow stairs to the landing, I caught sight of June, off to the left of me, sitting Indian style on the floor. Jeans and an over-sized college sweatshirt made her look almost as fragile as her momma. June, though, cougar blood ran through her veins. I’d actually gone and seen her play once. And while I didn’t much understand rugby, I could understand that thrill: baring your teeth, screaming your soul and taking some poor buck who didn’t have the sense to get out of your way right down into the mud. ‘Course, right then, June occupied herself with far less aggressive tasks. She pulled out the towels, sheets and things that we’d got for use as a rental, folded them up and stuffed them in the empty bins for the trip to the thrift store. My parents’ things were stacked next to her, still in the air-tight bags and waiting to be arranged on the shelves.
“Hey, Uncle Joe.” She pushed a bit of hair behind her ear and waggled her fingers at me in greeting.
I set the bin I carried down at the head of the stairs. “June, how’s the team doing?” Her college rugby team made it to the championships and then had to forfeit when it ended up that someone scheduled their game on Sunday. They took a stand on principle — I mean the coach let them vote on it and the whole team agreed. It cost them. Felt bad and proud all wrapped up together. If the sport had been NCAA sanctioned the BYU rule would have kicked in and the game would have been moved to a non-Sabbath day…no matter what day that Sabbath fell on for a particular school.
She smiled up at me. “We’re going to make it next year.” Oh, Lord, she looked like Lacy at that age, ‘least my memory of my sister then. I couldn’t help but echo her grin. “Nice to see you smile.”
That caught me up. “What?”
“You’re happy.” She shrugged and went back to folding. “You’re smiling.”
I took a step over and thumped the top of her head with my knuckle. Didn’t sound hollow. “You ain’t around me a lot.” I corrected. “I smile quite a bit.”
“No, Uncle Joe.” This time she didn’t look up. “Not like you’re smiling now.” I could hear the conviction in her voice, though.
I crossed my arms over my chest and leaned against the wall. “What are you on about?”
I got another shrug. “I can tell, you’re happy.” She started on opening up the bags. “Not like, just content, but really, really happy. We’d all talk about it. All the cousins when we came to visit. How you always seemed a little down” After a bit of a pause, June shook her head and gave a snort. “Well, not the boys, they were clueless. But, now, it’s like this light has touched you. And I’m happy for you, that you found someone.”
“You’re okay with it…me and him?”
“God sent you someone to complement you, be your partner.” I got one of those looks like June thought I’d gone a bit off my rocker. “Why wouldn’t I be okay with that?”
I didn’t want to bring her down to what I’d been dealing with this past year, so I hedged, “I’m not used to people being okay with it, right off.”
“Twenty-first century.” June twisted her mouth all funny and rolled her eyes. “Get over it already.” She must’a caught my sour expression and kinda read through what it meant. “Oh, you mean the whole church thing.” I got a nervous little laugh in apology. “Sorry. I didn’t…I shouldn’t have brought that up.”
I shrugged. She hadn’t intended anything by what she said. “It is what it is.”
Another eye roll told me what she though on that. “Well, what it is, is run by a bunch of fussy old white dudes.” Lord, my sister would have a heart attack if she heard her youngest going off on the President and the Apostles of the church like that. “I mean, come on, they didn’t admit African Americans to full membership until almost the eighties.” She snorted. “Can you say, ‘way behind the times?’” Then, like she wanted to reassure me, June added. “It may take a while, but the revelation will come.” I don’t know as I’d ever been that young and earnest.
Written by James Buchanan
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