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Kim Pritekel and Alexa Hoffman

Part 2

It was always so hard not to laugh as I watched the kids trying to figure out this thing called pottery. Half of them pressed the pedal too hard on the electric wheels, and sent clay flying everywhere, them looking around to see who had seen their folly.

Pushing away from the wall I'd been leaning against, I walked over to one such ten-year-old.

"Okay, Nick, this is how it works. Remember how I showed you? Gentle presses." The boy took his foot off the gas and tried again. I wondered what he'd be like behind the wheel of a car in six years if he was already such a speed demon with the pottery wheel. "Okay, class. It's almost time to go, so you all know what that means."

My announcement was met with groans as kids were just beginning to really get into the creative process in their second week of classes, after a first week of simply learning the technical stuff.

I watched as they all did their best to clean up, trying to remember everything I'd shown and told them last Saturday.

"Kayla, take your bat off first, sweetie."

"Oh, yeah," the little girl said, removing the round, wooden board from her wheel. Some of the parents were starting to arrive to pick up their little artists, and one of the mothers came over to talk with me.

"Hi, Brooklyn. How are you?"

"Wonderful, how are you, Mrs. Rodriquez?"

"Oh, not bad. How did Jose do today? Did he throw any more clay?" I smiled, shaking my head.

"Nope. He was a perfect gentleman. I'm not sure what magic you used, but it worked." She laughed, shaking her head.

"I have no idea why he did that to that poor little girl. My little hito isn't normally like that."

"Well, you get kids this age together, especially boys and girls, and you just never know what's going to happen. Speaking of, I better go detour a possible situation. I'll see you next week." I patted her arm, and hurried over to Webster Warner, who had a bucket of water that was used to soak the tools in, the water cold and cloudy with bits of clay, poised over his head, his target in sight. I put a hand on the handle of the gray bucket, and plastered a stern look on my face, startling the youngster. "Don't you dare."

Frightened, he hurried to his wheel, and continued to clean.

"Sure looks like you've got your hands full."

I turned to see Jodi Thomlin standing near the door wearing jeans with loafers, a white button-up shirt, and a sweater tied around her neck, a smile on her face. Her hair was pulled back into a braid.

"You can say that again." I smiled. "Be right with you." She nodded, and began talking with a parent. Wondering what she was doing here, but not having time to think about that right now, I got my class cleaned up, and the right kid returned to the right parent. "See you all next week." The kids waved goodbye to me, and headed up the stairs. I turned to Jodi, taking a breath. "One down, one to go."

She walked toward me, looking around the room.

"You must have some sort of ticket into Heaven to teach kids how to sling virtual mud." She shook her head.

"Sometimes I'm inclined to agree. What brings you here?" I asked as I re-washed a bat that still had a clump of clay on it.

"Well, I just thought I'd stop by and see what the world of pottery is all about." She looked at the smock I wore, and the patterns of variations of browns splattered across it. "You must have clothes reserved just for these classes."

I looked down at myself, picking off a piece of clay that had managed to get on the sleeve of my shirt. "Yeah, something like that. This stuff gets everywhere." I looked up at her as I set the bat in the tray to dry for the next class that would arrive in less than thirty minutes. "Have you ever played with clay before?" She shook her head.

"No, ma'am. I had an art class in middle school once where we got to sculpt something, but that's the extent of my Picasso days."

"Well, then I'd say you're in the right place. Come here." I pointed toward a nearby wheel. "I'll show you." She sat on the seat, looking at the wheel in confusion. "Okay, this thing here is called a bat. The knobs on the wheel fit into the holes on either side of the wood."

"Okay." She clipped it into place. "What's this for?"

"Well, your clay goes smack dab in the center. See, this gives the clay more traction as opposed to just the plain metal of the wheel." I slammed the ball of wet clay on the bat. "This stuff is pretty slippery."

Jodi stared down at it, then up at me, the cutest look on her face. I grinned.

"It's not as scary as you're thinking. First you've got to get it centered. See the pedal down there?" I point to the floor next to her foot. She glanced down, and nodded. "Put your foot on there, and give it just a little gas. Good. Now, dip your fingers in that cup of water, okay, now," I moved around so I was behind her, my arms on either side of her, grabbed her hands. "This is how we center. You're going to bring this up into a cone, not too high, you don't want to send this stuff flying, but just enough, about like this, okay?" I felt her nod against my shoulder "Now you do it."

I stood back, watching as the girl did as I told her, doing quite well, actually.

"How many times do I do this?" she asked, bringing it up into a cone again.

"Well, as many times as you need to. Do it a couple more times, and that should do it."

"How's that?" She glanced over her shoulder up at me.

"Does that look centered to you?" She nodded.

"Alright then, we're going to open it up. Stick your finger right in the center, and slowly press down until you feel you're about, oh, half inch from the bat."

"Okay." She scrunched up her nose. "It's so slimy." I chuckled.

"Okay, now gently, very gently, start pulling it toward you."

"Here?" she asked, her finger on the part closest to her.

"Yep. What you're doing now is giving it a little shape, a little size. Open it up to the width you want. For instance, if you wanted to make a bowl, obviously you'll pull it out quite a bit. If you're into a vase or a glass, it won't be near as wide."

"I'm afraid to make it too thin, and it'll fall."

"Well, that can certainly happen, but I wouldn't worry about that. You can pull it little more, Jodi." I grinned, trying not to laugh.

"Okay, this is all I want to do. I don't want it to get too thin." I looked at the piece she was making, seeing the walls, which were about an inch thick.

"Okay. It's up to you. When you've done that, we're going to start bringing it up."

"Bringing it up? Huh?" I grinned. I just loved teaching new people.

"Yep. Stop the wheel a sec. Okay, this is what you're going to do." I reached around her again, dipping my fingers into the water, then putting them inside the narrow ... thing. "As the wheel is going, you will have the fingers of this hand inside, and the others outside, and gently pull up on the walls of your pot. This will make it taller."

"It won't pull apart?"

"Nope." I stood. "Just do it slow."


I could hear the door at the top of the stairs open as my second class, the even younger kids, started to come. I looked at what Jodi was creating, wondering what on earth she was trying to do. The thing was getting taller and taller, but was still really narrow. A vase, maybe?

"Okay. This thing is going to fall over, Brooklyn," she said, the wheel stopping as she studied the leaning tower of Thomlin.

"Okay. Well, unfortunately there isn't anything I can do about it right now. My eleven o'clock students are starting to arrive." I grabbed the wire cutter from the little basket of tools on the wheel top. "Now to get this off the bat. Take this in both hands, and slide it under the clay. Good. I'll take this now."

"What's next?"

"Well," I said, setting the work onto a drying rack. "It'll dry, then I'll do some trim work for you, and put a nice foot on it for you."


"On the bottom. So it's not just this flat thing."


"Then it'll get it's first firing, which is called the bisque firing, then I'll glaze it, and do the final firing. Do you have a preference in color?" I asked as I took the bat off the wheel, and took it over to the sink.

"Just something subtle, nothing flashy."

"I can do that."

"Thanks so much, Brooklyn." Jodi smiled at me, her hazel eyes twinkling.

"You're very welcome. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching you."

"Well, um, maybe I can come back sometime."

"I'd like that. Bye for now."

"Bye." She gave me a little wave, and hurried up the stairs, flattening herself against the wall as vivacious little five year olds came bounding down.

* * *

Rhonda and I took our normal seat at Tristan's, a popular lunch spot about ten minutes away from the office. Our drink orders taken, Rhonda turned to me.

"So, how's the house going?"

I sighed, thinking about my never-ending project. "Not bad. I'm thinking about changing the deck off the back. I've gotten some estimates already. What do you think?"

The waiter brought us our complimentary breadsticks, and I began to chow down. I was starving as we had to take a late lunch, our current account just sucking up the time.

"Well," she said, sipping from her water. "What are you planning?"

"Well, I was thinking to extend it out a bit. Right now it's only about ten by twelve. I'd rather have more room out there. You know once I start having my summer barbecues." I grinned.

"You better, kiddo." She smacked my arm playfully. "I think it sounds great, and Tom could probably get the wood cheaper for you. What's the estimate you've gotten so far?"

"Well, the lumber yard on Auburn quoted me at around five."

"Thousand?" she nearly squeaked. I nodded. Rhonda shook her head. "Oh, no, sweetie. That's ridiculous. Tom could definitely get it far cheaper, and at cost. But keep some things in mind. One time at a house we bought when we first got married, Tom got the bright idea to build this huge deck, and it was great, but it sucked up our yard. Forget a garden at that place." I chuckled.

"Well, thanks for the warning, but it's not like I really use the backyard a whole lot, anyway."

"True, but you have to think about your resale value. I doubt you'll stay in that house forever. I'm always warning my kids about that kind of thing when they go to buy their first house."

"Hmm." I sipped from my water, never thinking in those terms before. Thank God for Rhonda, or I would have gotten screwed over so many times. "Speaking of, Jodi stopped by the studio the other day."

"Oh yeah?" Rhonda buttered a breadstick. "When was this?"

"Saturday, between classes."

"Did she make a pot?"

"Of sorts." I chuckled. "I'm not real sure what to call it, but she tried. I'll bring it to work and you can give it to her; I have no doubt you'll see her before I do."

"Probably so. She's so busy. Did you know she holds down a full-time job at the library plus pulling her 22 credit hours at school?"

"Impressive. She hits me as the type who thrives with that sort of thing."

"Oh, she is. One of her first words was book, no kidding."

"See that? It was meant to be." The waiter brought our drinks, and took our lunch orders. "What about Cody? What is she good at, besides pulling attitude?" I smiled.

"That's about it, I think. Well, other than skateboarding, that is."

"Come on, Ron. There's got to be something in there. She'll grow out of this rebellion stuff. She's supposed to be a punk right now."

"She's certainly got that one down pat, let me tell you. If I had a nickel for every time she got into trouble with that Jimmy kid I'd be a rich woman. He's a bad influence."

"Give her time, Ron. She'll figure it out sooner or later."

"I just pray that it's sooner."

* * *

I wandered around my house, struck by what I had managed to accomplish already in my life - the two-story, brick house that I had lay in bed as a kid and dreamed of. The selling point, of course, had been the solarium that was off the back of the house, eight feet long, four feet deep, and reaching up to my bedroom on the second floor, a door leading into it from there. The wooden shelves placed strategically throughout were lined with plants. I loved plants, and spent so much of my weekend wandering around the stairs that lead to each level to see how they were doing. I must have spent a month's water bill getting them all to grow. The two fireplaces, especially the one in my bedroom, was certainly another huge selling point - red brick with a cherry wood mantel.

I stood in there now, the largest of the three upstairs rooms. The walls, painted a dark blue to contrast with the dark wood floors, and white accents. I smiled, suddenly feeling very proud. My hard work, and well, my father's good planning, I had been able to do this at 23.

Had I grown up too fast? I often wondered about that. I had had my share of fun as a kid. My best friend, Randi, or Rand as she preferred, and I. I only called her by her given name when I was mad at her or wanted something from her. She had been my lifesaver through so much, and so many years.

Shaking the thought out of my head when I heard the doorbell, I grabbed a sweater, knowing I'd need it tonight. The nights could be so cold, but the winter was slowly blowing out, and spring was coming. Tonight was friend's night out, and I was excited. It was rare that the four of us were actually able to be in the same place at the same time. I guess that's what happens when you all grow up.

* * *

Holding my hand to my mouth, knowing what was coming next in Pete's story, I listened intently. When he got on a roll, Peter Kacey was hilarious.

"So, the press is all set up in the conference room, and I had just finished my letter to Rand, which in all honesty, no one had any business reading," he turned to my best friend, and they shared a knowing smile. "The speech I'd written for the senator was laying on the desk. I pushed the letter away, and Altman comes in, blindly grabbed what he thought was the speech off my desk, I'm out of my chair in seconds, running after the old guy to get my damn letter back!"

All of us erupted in laughter, Keith choking on the drink of water he'd just taken. Pete swiped at his eye as he laughed even harder at the memory. I pounded on Keith's back to help him swallow the drink, still laughing myself.

Pete was one of those guys who had that real dry sense of humor, and even though his story was funny, the delivery made it that much better. He tells his tales with a straight face, never cracking a smile, and looking at life as though he's a kid who doesn't understand why all the shit has to hit his fan.

"That will teach you to write down our latest sexual escapades in a damn letter," Rand exclaimed, playfully shoving her boyfriend. He shrugged, taking a drink from his beer. "We all remember the email incident, don't we?" A new bout of laughter, making my stomach hurt to the point where I had to try and take deep breaths to calm myself.

"Well, that's nothing compared to my roommate in college who would sculpt all his conquests' penis' in clay after they broke up, and sell them for ten bucks a piece as a 'Dildo in Suspension.'" Keith chuckled.

"Are you serious?" I asked, never hearing that story before. He looked at me and nodded, his eyes twinkling.

"So tell me, big guy, was yours among those on the auction block?" Pete asked. My boyfriend turned to him, tossed his napkin at him.

"You wish."

I turned toward Rand, who was the closest person to me in my entire life. She had been by my side since we were eleven years old. Fifteen years later, we were closer than ever. She still wore her usual black clothing, a fashion statement of sorts she started almost 10 years prior. She had looked like a mortician since we'd been teenagers, but she actually managed to pull it off without looking too much like a member of the Addam's family. If she wore any other color, other than as an accessory, we worried.

"What about you, cupcake? How did the world of public relations go today?" She rolled her eyes.

"Don't ask, muffin. Senator Waldorf tried to get me to um, well, I'd be able to save the dress."

That earned a third round of chuckles.

"That old man needs to get some," she finished with a smile, taking a bite out of her roll.

"Well," I put my fork on my plate, steak forgotten for a moment. "Let me give you the next chapter in the Thomlin chronicles."

"Now what? Did Jake swallow his allowance again?" I laughed, and shook my head.

"Uh, no. The infamous twins? Well, Cody, the 'evil seed' got kicked out of the nunnery they had sent her to."

"Oh, ouch." Keith said, cutting his cod into little pieces.

"Yeah, Rhonda was not thrilled, let me assure you. So, anyway, the elusive Jodi and Cody do, in fact, exist."

"So, they're not just some figment of your boss' imagination that she's been entertaining you with for the last two years?" Pete said, wiping his mouth and sitting back in his chair.

"No," I sipped from my water. "Amazingly enough, they're not. They're very real, and they're very different. I don't know that I've ever seen a set of twins so drastically un-alike. Jodi is a total prep, coming to dinner, and to the studio I might add, dressed in slacks and a button-up shirt with a friggin' sweater tied around her neck. And then there's Cody. She had on these huge cargo pants that she was just swallowed by, a sweater that looked like was borrowed from her father, and Vans. I honestly think she could have used the pockets on those pants as a built-in purse."

"Bigger than Rand's?" Pete asked, lifting Rand's granny bag.

"By far."

"Oh, fuck off, the both of you. "My god, no wonder her mom gets so pissy." Rand said, shaking her head. "The girl sounds like a loser stuck in the body of a fourteen-year-old skater boy." She sat back in her chair, putting her hand on Pete's thigh.

"Well, I don't know if it's quite that extreme. But she does certainly stick out like a sore thumb in that household. The girl exudes attitude while Jodi sits calmly on the sidelines, watching with adoring, sisterly eyes." I grinned at the description.

"Jodi sounds like a carbon copy of her mother." Keith said.

"Yeah, and Cody is a carbon copy of her father during his hippie days. Does it her way. For that, I admire her. I just think she needs to get a clue about real life."

"Ah, the young." Keith sighed, bringing his wine glass to his lips.

* * *

I picked up the paper as I headed inside, knowing that he wouldn't remember to move it before the rains came. Just as always.

"Hey, city girl. How goes it?" Uncle Bruce asked, opening the screen door for me when he saw me coming toward the house. I smiled, always amused at his nickname for me, referring to my name.

"Hi, Uncle Bruce. Here's your paper."

"Oh, yeah." He smiled sheepishly as he sat down in his recliner, pulling the lever to raise the footrest. He looked okay today, his tall, lanky frame clothed in loose-fitting jeans, and a red and tan checkered flannel tucked into them.

"How did your doctor's visit go?" I asked, setting the paper on the TV tray that sat beside his chair, careful not to disturb the small pyramid of empty beer and soda cans he had built there.

"Oh, he says I need to stop smoking." He grinned, followed by a sickening cough. "I hate that." He grumbled, grabbing the nearby handkerchief to spit into.

"Well, maybe if you had stopped smoking thirty years ago, this wouldn't have happened."

"Let me tell you something, Brooklyn," He leaned forward in his chair, his brows, the only bit of blonde left, his green eyes red. "I smoked my first cigarette over forty-five years ago, and I'm doing just fine. Got me?"

"Yeah, right. So I guess the emphysema is just the doctor's sick joke for you, huh?"

he sat back, nodding.

"Sure, why not."

"God, Uncle, Bruce. You're terrible. How's the house?" I walked past his chair, and headed toward the kitchen, knowing there would likely be dishes for me to do. I could smell them before I even got there. "Uncle Bruce!" I turned to look at him from the kitchen archway, my hands on my hips. He glanced briefly at me over the back of his chair, then turned back to the TV. Shaking my head, I began to clear the sink to run water.

I heard my uncle groan as he got himself to his feet, and made his way to the kitchen. He grabbed a beer out of the fridge, and leaned against the counter, watching me.

"Uncle Bruce, how many of those have you had today?" I asked, nodding toward the Bud. He glanced down at it.


"Yeah, plus three more, I'm sure. You need to slow down. One of these days you'll actually listen to your doctor. Maybe then you'll realize he's right."

"Eh, what do they know?" He popped the top, and took a long drink, eyes closed as a smile formed on his lips. Green eyes opened, and a wrinkled old hand raised to brush gray hair off his forehead. "You sounded just like Amy just then." I looked at him, thinking of my great-aunt, and his long dead wife.

"Why's that?"

"Oh, she liked to nag at me, too."

He chuckled as he moved away from my swatting hand.

"Nah, just it's nice to be looked after. You're a good girl, Brooklyn. Always was."

"Thank you. You're not so bad yourself."

"Well, I must be. Can't seem to get my own dirty dishes warshed."

"That's okay, old fella, grab a dish rag. You're going to dry." His eyes widened as he looked from me to the pile of dishes in the sink, then back up to me. "Uncle Bruce, it's not going to kill you to do something for yourself."

"Ehhh," he grumbled.

"Stop. Here." I tossed a towel at him. "You do know where everything goes, don't you?"

"Kiddo, these dishes were in these cabinets before your mom and dad decided to burn some time on a Friday night."

"Uncle Bruce!" I wrinkled my nose at the thought. He chuckled, turning on the hot water to rinse the washed pile of silverware. "How did you and Aunt Amy meet? You know, in all these years, I've never asked you that." I thought for a moment as I scrubbed at a plate with caked-on-something-red on it.

"Oh, we had a pretty common story, I guess. Well, for that time, anyway. It was the war, and you know in those days all the men went off to fight, and their lady friends were back home waiting. Well, I met Amy the night before I left to join my mates on board the S.S. Harry Truman. We all went to a dance, you see, and there she was." He smiled, making him look ten years younger. I smiled in turn, charmed at the love that I saw shining in his eyes. My uncle was a hard man for the most part, rarely, if ever, showing how he truly felt about you. Especially when I was younger. I never truly knew where I stood with him, always staying clear. But the older he got, the more I began to understand him.

He was trying to protect himself.

"So, did you ask her to dance, you old dog?" I asked.

"Oh, no." He laughed. "She was there with a date, I'm afraid. Proctor, I believe his name was. Larry Proctor. They was engaged to marry, and so I just sat with my buddies and watched her. I got her name through some of the boys who had known her older sister. Amy was a few years my junior, you know."

"Oh yeah? How much?" I handed him the plate, and he began to rinse it off.

"Oh, let me think. I was near twenty-two at that time, and she was still in school, probably around fifteen or sixteen or so. Things were different in those days." He stacked the plate neatly on the small pile of its siblings.

"So what happened"

"Well, I never forgot about her when I was over fighting them Nazis. I was moved to France, and wouldn't you know it, Proctor was on my ship. He would tell me all about his lady back home, and then one day we got ambushed while reloading the ship with supplies." He sighed, shaking his head as he tried to get his large hand inside a glass to dry it. "Larry didn't make it."

"Oh, no." I looked over at him, seeing the past wash before his eyes as his hand had stopped, still inside the glass, his eyes looking through the floor. Shaking himself, he looked at me.

"Anyway, so a letter came for him from Amy, a letter that had been sent and lost, and had found us a few month's later. My superior gave it to me to take home for his family, and I got her address. I decided to send her my condolences." He smiled at me, the light coming back into his eyes. "We had thirty years together before she was taken from me."

"I wish I would have gotten to know her."

"Oh, I think you would have liked her just fine. Wonderful, wonderful lady. I'm just sorry we didn't get to have any kids."

"Why didn't you?" I started in on the pan that I was dreading the most. I had no idea what, or how long, had been stuck to it. Quite effectively baked on.

"You're uncle can be a stubborn old bastard, is why we didn't." He looked at me, placing his hand on my shoulder. "Never let yourself regret today what you could have done yesterday, Brooklyn. It's not pleasant. You hear me?" I nodded. "Good. Now, let's get going on these damn dishes that some lazy old fool left."

* * *

"Come, come, Rand." I hurried up the wooden spiral staircase I had put in the year I moved in, and hurried into my bedroom where the covers had already been drawn, and the TV and DVD player awaited commands.

"I'm coming, I'm coming. It's not exactly easy to run up these stairs with an armload of fattening food, you know. I swear the calories weigh them down."

"Stop bitching, and get your ass in here."

Finally she managed to get to my bedroom, and dumped her load onto the bed. I stared down at the package of Oreos, box of Goldfish crackers, and eight-pack of Hi-C juice drinks. It would go well with my package of Capri Suns, and tin of carrot cake with plenty of cream cheese frosting; my favorite part.

"So what did you get?" she asked, nodding toward the stack of DVDs I'd rented, as she stuck the entire Oreo cookie into her mouth.

"How many times do I have to show you the correct way to eat one of those?" I grabbed a cookie, and twisted until the top came off. I showed her the two halves, raising the hand with the half that had the cream on it. "Lick, bite, pop." I licked the cream off with one swipe of my tongue, then bit the chocolate cookie in half, and popped the whole thing in my mouth.

"Oh, sorry my control freak. Do forgive me." I smacked her as she grinned.

"And I got quite an eclectic group. Some horror called Pitch Black."

"Oh, Vin Diesel you melt my heart, and my undies."

"Ew, Rand. I got us some action with The Long Kiss Goodnight, and finally a few romantic comedies starring the goddess' themselves, Sandra Bullock, Meg Ryan, and Julia Roberts."

"Oh, I bow to you, dear Brookie."

"As you should. Rentals are getting expensive these days."

"Oh, I know! One night me and Pete rented four movies, four," she held up four fingers," and it cost over twenty bucks."

"I hear ya."

"God, we're getting old. Who the hell would have thought us sitting here during girl's night and moaning about the price hikes of movie rental places?"

I laughed, nodding as I popped the yellow straw through the foil of the Capri Sun.

"Remember the birthdays at your place? How we'd rent a gazillion movies, usually only watching at most one."

We both laughed at the memory.

"Oh man, and all the junk food we'd have?"

"Oh! Do you remember Maria Maestas?" Rand asked excitedly.

"Oh my god! I had completely forgotten about her. How the hell do you remember that name?"

"How could I forget? All the food she could pack away? Remember the time she ate an entire box of zingers then lied about it? Saying they got stolen?" I fell back on the bed as laughter wracked through me. "And remember the time your dad dressed up in that stupid monster suit to scare the crap out of all us twelve year olds?"

My laughter slowed, and I sat up.

"Yeah, I do remember that. So, what movie first?" Rand looked at me for a moment, then smiled at me, her hand on my leg.

"You pick."

* * *

The day was nice, the sun beginning to fall behind the buildings along my path as I rode my bike through the streets. I had needed to stretch my legs, feeling so cramped up inside all day long, staring at copy, and dealing with clients that could be less than complimentary sometimes.

I pedaled along, nice and easy, but at a brisk pace. It always felt so satisfying after a good ride. I often teased Keith telling him it was better than sex. If he only knew I was usually serious to some degree in that statement.

I was getting near the park, and I was glad. The traffic was heavy, and some of the city's worst drivers had been let out on good behavior, or something. Does no one use a turn signal anymore? I can't say how many times I've damn near been wiped out by one of those thoughtless assholes. I swear, it was like, huh, lady on bike. Don't see that everyday. Maybe I'll just turn here. If she keeps her helmet on, extra points.


I turned onto the path that would lead through the park, which was fairly dead on a weeknight in late February.

It had rained earlier, and the path had all the little puddles that I loved to ride through, splashing up to cool me off a bit. The grass was wet, the dirt around the flower beds, mud.

I glanced over to the right as the skate park came into view. I could hear kids in there before I even saw them, their skateboarding apparatus, which I think is called a half pipe, first in sight, a figure standing on top of it waiting for his turn.

As I neared, I braked to a stop, wanting to watch for a second. These kids were incredible on a piece of wood with four wheels attached. I was impressed, and had no idea how they did half the stuff on those things that they did.

I glanced up at the figure, and was surprised to see that it was Cody Thomlin. She wore shorts that reached below her knees, pockets everywhere, and a sweatshirt that must have been three sizes too large for her.

She put her board on top of the thing, then turned her head to talk to someone on the ground below. As she chatted, her eyes looked at me. I smiled, and gave her a small wave. She just nodded acknowledgement, then kicked her board off the side, hopping on top of it as she went.

Shaking my head in amazement, and thinking she was nuts, I started riding again.


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