Creeping phlox. The whole yard had succumbed to them, drought or no. Purple haze marred the tight yellowing scrap of lawn on the eastern corner, like the birthmark that slipped up my neck and gripped the edges of my jawline. Mama liked em, the phlox, but mama's opinions weren't to be trusted. She told me I was beautiful, once.
The whole entire grass field was a wide, low pricker bush. It made me feel mean and nasty just to look at it. I sat on the rock fence letting my hat make a perfect-circle shade over my barefeet, thinking hard on getting boots or roughin' it. I wished I'd known it didn't matter. I wished I'd just gone on ahead without those boots. I wished I'd known a lot of things the summer that daddy ran away and Judah came in the rain.
The astro-turf dock that swayed like a mother in the best of weather was the first memory that came to her mind in that moment. That, and the never ending ricochet down the canyon. The ripples of disaster kept her in a state of pre-awareness. The dock slapping and sucking on the water's surface harmonized darkly with the ping-chuck of the gunshot. When the memory began to fade, she squinched her eyes tightly, "Don't go away. Don't go away. Wait..." Gone. Gone and shelved.