Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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Margaret McMullan is the author of six novels, including Sources of Light, In My Mother’s House, How I Found the Strong, and When I Crossed No-Bob. She was recently a Fulbright professor of English at the University of Pécs in Hungary and currently holds the Melvin M. Peterson Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Evansville in Indiana.
You think you can feel the peace in this room. A line from Matthew comes to you: “Forgive us as we forgive . . .” Something is happening here with the light and the birds and the wind outdoors: a transformation from despair to readiness. You call for your mother.
Catch stepped out of his trailer and saw the girl alone on the beach across the highway. She was wading ankle deep in the gulf, wearing a light brown bikini the color of her skin. Catch hadn’t seen anyone on the beach in a long time, not since the hurricane, the one most people in town couldn’t stand to call by name anymore.
Catch lit a joint and smoked it as he drove past the Gulf Coast Pak & Ship, which still had its sun-faded WE SHIP FOR THE HOLIDAYS sign up from last year. It was Friday, Christmas Eve, and he was going to fetch his holiday bonus from Mr. Zimmer in the big yellow house, his last paycheck for the week.