Posts Tagged ‘Lana Turner drinking at the soda fountain’

Chapter 6 Lana

Since the bucket full of blood, my new plan is to walk across the island to the Nadlers.

I don’t know what I will do or say when I get there, but I know I have to get there.

I get a pillowcase from the linen closet, my favorite one with a little plaid pattern in purple and blue and yellow and white, and I first fill it with my favorite books, and Bernard Bear. I look in the “emergency closet” in my room, where Daddy keeps his British army uniforms and five-gallon jars of rice and flour—“emergency rations,” he calls them—to see if there is anything useful for me to use. There is not. But it gives me an idea for real rations, and I go to the kitchen and put cans of hash and beans into my pillow case, then I go to the kitchen drawer, and, proud that I have remembered, I pull out a can opener and a fork, and I put them with the cans. Then I drag my very heavy pillowcase out to the windy overcast yard, where my mother plays with Rufus.

“Goodbye,” I tell her.

“Where are you going?” she asks. I don’t want her to feel bad that I want to join another family.

“I’m going to ask the Nadlers for a ride to the mainland,” I tell her.

“Now why are you gonna do that, honey?” I look at my feet. I just can’t tell her.  I am afraid I will make her like the sorrowful Indian again. I’m afraid she will cry.

“We don’t even know the Nadlers,” she points out. I stare up at the tall oak trees, waving their top branches to me, showing me their freedom in the wind. I don’t care if we don’t know the Nadlers. I know they will not shout and shoot things. I just know it. I stop staring at the trees, and drag my bag towards to the gate that leads out of the yard.

“Mommy, will you please open the gate for me?” I ask her. The latch is a piece of string at the top, but it’s too tall for me to reach. I wish she wasn’t here, because I would have just opened it myself, standing on a folding chair or something.

“Stephie,” she says. “Why don’t you have some lunch first?” she suggests. That sounds like it might be nice, but I know I have to go.

“No Mommy, I just have to go to the Nadlers.”

“No, you’re not going to go there. You are not going to talk to them about us.” I hear fear in her voice. And then everything is clear. She knows why I am going; she just doesn’t want anyone else to know about why.

“I won’t talk about us,” I tell her. This is one of my father’s rules.

“I know you won’t.” She wraps one hand on the edge of the pillowcase I still hold tight in my hands. “They would just bring you back to us anyways,” she says. I look up at her face, greedy for the pillowcase, and for a second I think maybe I can still go, and not say anything, not hurt anybody, but then she pulls the pillowcase from my hands, and when it is gone, I know my attempt is over. I decide I won’t let her see me cry. I quickly wipe my tears away, but she has already walked back to Rufus with my bag in her hand.

Since running away isn’t going to work, I decide to become a child star so I can get away from them. I know how to do it too, once mommy tells me the story of Lana Turner. The next time we go to town, I sit at the soda fountain counter in the drugstore and order a malted. While I drink it, I keep my eyes glued to the door. I suck on the straw like I will bring my stardom into being, suck it here, pull it to me. The first malted is almost gone now, and still I haven’t been discovered.


“Yes sweetheart?”

“How many times did Lana have to get a chocolate malted before she was discovered?” “Well, honey…” she starts.

“Because I can drink a lot of them, I mean, if that’s what she did.” I want everyone, but mostly Mom, to know that I will not be deterred. I will do whatever it takes to be discovered.

“Well, I think that guy found her the first time she went in…it was called Schrafft’s, I think.”

“Is there a Schrafft’s in Clayton?” I ask.

“No—it was Schwab’s. Schwab’s. It’s in California.”

“Oh.” My head falls, but only for a second. “Can we go to California?” That place again, I can hear Mama Cass’s voice: California dreamin’…

She hesitates to answer; I can see she’s not figuring out how to go to California, she’s figuring out how to tell me that there is no possible way. My mom will not go anywhere. She will not leave my father—he is irresistible to her. There will be no California; there will only be being here with Daddy. I smile at her and try to pretend that California is just a silly joke.


03 2010

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button Youtube button