BY RICKY MASSENGALE
“If they could forecast the waves of love like the weather, then we could be ready for it,” Flower said.
Lacey lowered her chin and felt the fat below her jaw collect. She didn’t care anymore, especially around Flower. She was fat. Lacey knew that and anyone who didn’t see it was blind.
Flower stood beside the Bob Dylan poster tacked to her dorm wall—Dylan playing before a crowd in sixty-six Stockholm—and positioned her arms around the folk legend. “Right here, folks, we can see a heavy formation just off here to the West. What it’s gonna do–men, be ready for this–it’s gonna hook around, and sweep in this direction.” She repositioned the rotating motion of her hands upward to the scruffy jowls of Dylan’s pursed lips. “We can also see some heavy formation right up in here.” And she rubbed the glossy images cheeks, as though she were really handling his scruffy face.
Lacey laughed as she always did when Flower was in one of these moods, then pouted her lips. “I wish I were in love.” She dropped her head onto her folded arms.
“Love isn’t a storm, you know,” Flower offered, stepping down from her bed.
From Flower’s window, Lacey saw the clouds against the hard blue sky, a view impossible from her own room, one floor down.
“Love is a virus that spreads like an epidemic.”
Lacey closed her eyes. Contrary to what her father believed, Lacey didn’t think of boys. Slightly overweight herself, fish-lipped, and cursed for what seemed like forever with perennial acne, Lacey avoided anything she believed would never happen. Dreaming was like playing Russian Roulette with a full chamber, her mother used to say. It only leads to depression and dissatisfaction.
The telephone rang and Flower answered.
An image drifted to Lacey of her and two, maybe three other girls, sprawled out on a blanket in the courtyard while a boy with eyes older than his face strummed a guitar. All Along the Watchtower as a crowd starts to gather.
“My dad says hi,” Flower’s voice emerged from the crowd. “Are you sleeping?”
Lacey opened her eyes. The daisies in the coffee cup on Flower’s windowsill kept her inside of her daydream, a man like Dylan serenading –
“He’s coming on Saturday. After the divorce he says he needs out of the house. Talked about bringing his guitar, like he was doing it for me.” Flower turned to the mound of clothes that waited to be folded. “I think it’s more for him, quite frankly.”
Lacey grinned. The color of the daisies were like fresh paint in the sunlight, like the poetry of “Buckets of Rain.” If Flower the weather girl was correct, if love was indeed an epidemic, then she was against immunity
Ricky Massengale lives with his wife and son in Russellville, AR. His work has appeared in Nebo, RE:AL, Everyday Poets, EarthSpeak, Full Armor, Pond Ripples Magazine, And/Or and the anthologies Daily Flash: 365 Days of Flash Fiction and Isolation. In 2006, a small press published a chapbook of his experimental poetry. He looks for beauty in broken things.