Nan's Story

Nan's Story by Paige Farmer Page B

Book: Nan's Story by Paige Farmer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Paige Farmer
piss Buddy off royally, no doubt. It might also ratchet up Elsie’s interest a notch or two, but she and Joe were leaving in the morning and would be gone for days. So really, that just left Buddy and he was already mad, so what the hell, Nan reasoned and went to meet Charlie.
    Nan twisted as she never had before, leaning from one foot to the other, and swiveling her hips as if hula hoops swung from them. Charlie was also putting his all into it, arms undulating like a cross-country skier. Her flailing moves put her squarely in front of CJ and suddenly she and her little boy were dancing together. And he was smiling at her . Nan laughed and twisted until she was breathless and had a stitch in her side. It had been years since she’d felt this happy in her own skin and she was amazed at how good it was.
    The energetic beat faded away and transitioned smoothly to light piano notes.
    “Say welcome to our lady Ella,” the disc jockey introduced. “Okay guys, find your girl and be someone to watch over her tonight…”
    Elsie guided CJ back to their table, leaving Charlie and Nan staring clumsily at each other before Charlie shrugged his shoulders and held out one hand to her. A million different excuses drifted through her mind, but not one of them kept her from taking his outstretched hand. Well this is one hell of a plan, she thought to herself.
    She stepped toward Charlie and put her left hand near the back of his neck as he used his right to circle her waist. He pulled Nan toward him and she closed her eyes breathing in deep, feeling the crisp cotton uniform against her cheek. He laid her palm on his chest and covered it with his own, stroking lightly with his thumb. Their bodies began to move in unison and it was as if they’d disappeared from the dance floor, the world dropping slowly away from around them. The rise and fall of the music matched the tempo of their breath and they could hear nothing else. Nan thought that she’d never in her life felt so safe.
    Well, maybe just one other time.

Chapter 6
    It rained the day of Sam’s funeral, as it had every day since the accident. The train that hit him had not been a fast moving new fangled express, but one of the lumbering old B&M specials hauling iron and scrap between Boston and Portland. The engineer said it looked as if Sam might have tried to run, but only at the last second as the train bore down on him. Before that Sam had been staggering unevenly and apparently oblivious to his impending fate. Later her father’s pals from the docks confessed that they’d spent most of that Friday afternoon sitting at the State Street Saloon, knocking back shot after shot of whiskey. Many of them were now at the funeral looking shamefaced and dazed.
    The group of mourners huddled around Sam’s casket under a ceiling of umbrellas while thick gray clouds wrung themselves out overhead. Nan wondered morbidly if the hole dug for her father’s body would fill with water before they could lower the pine casket into it. Standing between her mother and brothers, Nan glanced at Elsie as the minister did his best to outshout the escalating wind and torrential downpour. Most of her mother’s face was hidden by the widow’s veil that hung from her pillbox hat, but it didn’t come down far enough to mask the ferocious scowl and rigid set of her chin. It was the same furious look that swept over Elsie’s face when the two officers came to fetch her and tell her that Sam was dead. While Nan had seen her mother angry many, many times, she couldn’t remember her expression ever looking so hate filled.
    The fights between her parents had diminished to some degree over the preceding few years, but only because Sam eventually stayed away from home much of the time. He was often gone before Nan got up and didn’t return home until well after they’d all retired to bed. When Nan did see her father it was usually in passing, he with his eyes trained on the floor and mumbling some weak

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