5-A The Right QuestionsMature

"Ty, you home?" But there was only a slight echo and the squeak of her feet on the tile of Ty’s kitchen floor.

Lyn poked around in the cabinets, hoping for an un-opened bottle of preserves. She didn't want to let any of the cold air out of the fridge. The cabinets reached up to the ceiling and the ceiling was high. She moved the step-stool over to a high cabinet she was sure Tyree would have no trouble reaching.

Is peach okay?”

Sure.”

The counters were tiled and empty except for Ty's miniature herb garden. The fragrant pots of cilantro and rosemary were painted blue and orange to match the room.

I can't believe the power's out again.” Lyn said. She spread peanut butter on two slices of bread.

Sofia said, “When they finish the new hydroelectric dam East of Sacramento it’s supposed to fix it. What are your thoughts on the governor's stance on that?” Sofia cocked her head and listened intently as if she expected Lyn to begin a long and dramatic story.

I don’t really follow politics.”

That's interesting.”

Lyn's small features did their best to twist into wrinkles. She said, “Why?”

She handed the sandwich to Sofia without a plate. The girl propped her elbow on the counter and took a bite. “It's kind of a big deal I guess. I would have thought that you and Alex would have talked about it.”

Why Alex?”

Or not Alex. Whomever. But there's all these rolling blackouts, that's pretty serious, don't you think?”

I know Alex wants to protect the river but sometimes I wish the protesters in Sacramento would just give up and let us build our power plant.”

Huh. That’s odd.”

Sofia focused her concentration on her sandwich. She plucked morsels of PB and J, popping them into her mouth like pills. Lyn imagined she ate everything this way: soups, pudding, chicken wings—one pinch at a time. Lyn took as big a bite as she could fit into her mouth. She had gotten carried away with the preserves and some peach goo squeezed onto the counter.

So…” Lyn asked, “What’s your stance on it?”

After some sandwich consideration, Sofia said, “It’s not just the protesters. The politicians are ticked that they lost. So now it's not rebuilt yet and we are having this heat wave and this drought and so we're knocking on Sacramento's door saying 'can you budget us some more money for power pretty-please?'”

Right but Sacramento's saying 'fuck you go home?'” Lyn guessed.

Pretty much. They're saying we're using too much and we just need to wait for the power plant to get built.”

Why doesn't the power company just give us the power?”

What are you crazy? No, no I mean it like a compliment. They're a business. They live and die for the dollar. Very interesting. So you don't follow this stuff at all.”

Lyn couldn't see what might be interesting about it. There was nothing Sophia or anyone else could do to fix the situation. There were more people that wanted power than there was electricity to go around. She was more interested in the Haymarket Dragons. But if this pretty girl was going around obsessing over the same things her boyfriend was, wasn't that a danger to her relationship? Something moved and churned in Lyn's stomach. She brushed thoughts of Tyree’s vision out of her mind.


Lyn envisioned Alex running his hands over Sofia's un-scarred body. She saw the mouth open and receptive, the wide eyes closed, and Alex searching her body fruitlessly for the imperfections that were in such abundance on Lyn. Hadn't they been whispering earlier? Were these sweet nothings? Sweet everythings? Did this smiling girl know what her Alex tasted like? These were the kinds of questions she could not ask.

So how did you fall in with these rabble rousers?”

Ha. I don't know about that.” Sofia said. But she looked as though she liked the idea. “They're good people.” Her crisp dress and hair were perfectly smooth. Had Alex noticed how pretty Sofia was? How could he not? 

There was a flicker and the refrigerator hummed back to life. Sundry appliances beeped to notify their owners that their clocks needed changing.

Sofia said, “I bet they will move the meeting again.”

Why? Why not just stay here?” Lyn said, a little too loudly.

Sofia smiled, “Comfort. It was so great meeting you though.”

Lyn felt that every question she asked Sofia was kindling to the burning curiosity she had been sequestering so long. They were the wrong questions, of course, they didn't tell her anything about the Haymarket Dragons or her boyfriend's place in it. But everything she uttered awakened a hundred questions in Lyn, questions which Sofia seemed only too happy to answer. And yet there was some tension, some fear that she would cross a line and Sofia would see the answers she was really after and would become muted and defensive and this possible source would be extinguished. On one level Lyn felt like this young woman could see right into her, into the heat of curiosity the Haymarket Dragons aroused. But her demeanor was warm, unguarded. She revealed nothing but appeared ready to reveal anything.

It seems like you have all the answers.” Lyn said.

Sofia took a long smooth sip of water and shrugged. “Only if you ask the right questions.”

The End

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