It sneered at her, laughing. It was big and red. It was Olympus Mons. And it was on her forhead. Sable sighed without reservation. Today was the day she was getting her learner’s permit. She had circled the day in purple gel pen on her Dozen Adorable Kittens bedroom calendar and put a silver star sticker on it. She recognized the irony that the silver star was just as prominent on the calendar page as the pimple on her head that would now be immortalized in a DMV photo.
Lisa didn’t always walk Sable to school, but she did almost whenever she could. Lisa’s being a couple ears older hadn’t hindered the friendship, but catalyzed it. Lisa was an only child and Sable was the youngest of her sisters and as she was quiet, she was the most easily ignored.
It was Lisa who was there to shop with Sable for her first real bra and her who stood by her at the Homegrown concert that no one else would attend with her. Lisa got something special out of the relationship too, however. It wasn’t just getting to act as the older sibling, but Sable had an unconventional way of looking at the world. This was something no one really knew except Lisa because Sable’s sparse use of words led others to be confused if they didn’t take the time to ask questions.
Their chunk of Wisconsin was the type of place in which one never felt the need to have their cell phone ready to dial emergency services or look over their shoulder when walking down a dark street. It was a place filled with gentle naighborhoods and parks and the children’s laughter and hollering that accomanied them.
Naturally, Sable’s mother had to get her hair done, right now, and couldn’t take Sable to the local DMV office. “I don’t know about Billy anymore. He’s not as mature as I thought. I heard that he sent Laura Edwards a picture of his junk after she broke up with him,” Lisa said.
“I’ve heard a lot of things about a lot of people around that school. I haven’t seen much to back any of it up. But you know what I think of Billy,” Sable remarked. Lisa parked her father’s maroon Carolla neatly on Pilgrim Avenue. After Sable was as satisfied as she was going to get with the conealer on her zit, the girls began stepping over the brick walks. They went by the chic restaurants and the small expensive shops that didn’t seem to sell anything useful towards their destination.
A tall man in a ratty trenchcoat blocked the path of the girls. His sunglasses were dark as the alley to their right. “Girls–” he drawled. Lisa pulled Sable behind her and fumbled in her purse.
“Listen, buddy you better–” Lisa uttered.
“Wait. Let’s hear him out,” Sable interjected. Lisa glared at her with agonized disbelief.
“Thanks, little miss. . .”
“Sable. What’s your name?”
“Short for Donald? Like the duck?”
“Yeah, hahaha. I stopped you… …is because I need some help.”
“What kind of help?” Lisa demanded.
“My sister’s getting married and I don’t know what… to get her. I know… it’s strange I just need some help.”
“I suppose you want to hop in your van with you? Not happening, creep.” Lisa grabbed Sable’s hand and took a step.
“What is your sister’s name? Where is she from?” Sable asked.
“Mary. She’s from Connecticut. It’s cold up there.”
“What’s her fiancee’s name? What’s her mother’s name?”
“Dylan. Her mother…her mother’s name is… Jessica.” His eyes watered up.
“See, he’s lying, let’s go Sable!” Lisa begged.
“What happened to Jessica?” Sable inquired.
“Mom… died. It’s okay. In June. I miss her. I found her.” Don explained.
“I’m sorry about your mother, Don.” Sable placed a hand on his shoulder. “Would you excuse us a minute? [to Lisa] “He’s not a creep. He’s just kind of… slow. I’m gonna help him.” Lisa told her she wouldn’t leave her alone with him and she was coming.