Fiction 2010 alumna Stacy Patton’s story “Not Knowing” appears online at Hunger Mountain.
On her way through the gate onto the levee she passed three loud-talking boys coming out, sun-washed and maybe a little drunk, two of them shirtless. They were all a head taller than she was, as boys of that age are, and their bodies filled her vision as they came, flat nipples and thin muscle, ribs and skin so close she side-stepped to avoid brushing against them. She flicked her wrist and wrapped the leash another turn around the back of her hand, pulled her dog close to her hip.
The boys passed behind her, and one of them whistled low. She pretended not to hear. She knew who he was whistling at, but she was alone, and they were boys, more than two. She tried to be flattered instead of afraid. She’d worn a new athletic skirt with quick-dry fabric and shorts underneath, and the summer heat rose from the asphalt, warming her legs, strong and tan from daily runs. The boys were laughing, the doors on their pickup thudding shut as she passed through the gate, remembering days when rowdy boys whistled more often—days when she might have gone swimming all afternoon with boys like that, instead of stealing a quick run before spaghetti night with her husband and two kids. A low-slung camp chair in the shallows near the shore, the current flowing round her calves, bikini straps slipped off her carefully oiled shoulders. And a beer, of course. A cold bottled beer sluicing the back of her throat, watching boys show off on a rope swing nearby...[Keep Reading]…