Smoother Than Oil, Bitter As Wormwood
“It was love without reason, love for something futureless, love that appeared to exist only to be itself, imperious and all demanding, the kind that would cause him to make a fool of himself in an instant.”
— Flannery O’Connor, The Violent Bear It Away
In the last week of my junior year, the old McGill house at the end of the road finally gained new occupants. The hundred-year-old, three story home had sat abandoned for so long that vines of bright bougainvillea had crept up one side and hung over the front porch awning. I noticed the newcomers on my bike ride to Clay County High, sitting up straight on my twelve speed to rubberneck at the movers hauling furniture up the grass-covered path to the house. An older man in a tucked-in button up surveyed the crew, directing them toward the wide doors that were swung open. A large woman swept off the porch, jeans hugging her wide hips; another, younger girl trimmed the dangling magenta blooms from the awning, long, tanned legs never-ending as she rose on her toes to reach the flowers. My bike glided past, morning sun reflecting off the spokes, flashing light across the porch. The girl stopped her pruning and followed the white light with her gaze, head lifting briefly to meet my eyes. I peddled away with conviction, backpack bouncing against my back.
I told Momma about our new neighbors that afternoon, sitting at the counter while she cooked dinner. “People moved into the McGill house today,” I informed her nonchalantly, finishing the last of my Algebra homework for the school year.