by Trasie Sands  

Ginny dates the Vincent fella who works at the wharf and fixes the traps. When the boats come, he helps empty lobsters from the pots. ‘Some good lawbstas!’ he yells. ‘Yes Vincent,’ they say, ‘some good lawbstas’ like they’re patting him on the head. Ginny always says, ‘at least he’s pretty.’ Mama says if he knocks her up, he better marry her ’cause she’ll have no bastards in her house, ‘by Jesus.’ Mama sees me listening and shoos me out the door. I crawl to the ocean side of the rock so she can’t see me and if she notices, she’s gonna flip. Last time she paddled my butt ’cause I laughed so hard after she screamed my name up and down the yard.

I see Ginny sneak in the shed with Vincent and she sees me and puts her finger to her mouth then drags it across her throat. I don’t understand why anybody’d wanna hide with the fish smells and oil and stuff, but I nod and pull grass out by the roots and think about how long it’ll be ’til I have boobs and curves and I can shush someone when I’m naughty.

I saw them kiss before and when I asked Ginny to show me how to do that, she punched me in the arm and told me to frig off. When she caught me in her dress and shoes, trying to make my face up, she nearly broke that same arm dragging me down the stairs to Mama. Mama said I had to ask first, and Ginny said, ‘what’s the sense of that ’cause the answer’s no,’ and she stomped up the stairs. Mama wiped my face and helped me out of the dress. ‘Soon enough,’ she said but it’s not soon enough for me.

By the time I get up and walk to the house, Mama is off the phone and says, ‘where’s your sister,’ and I try not to answer her but she knows right away from my face that I know where Ginny is so I think who should I piss off? ‘I can protect you from her,’ she says, ‘can she protect you from me?’ Before I can answer she sees me look at the shed.

I hide in Ginny’s room and crawl under the bed where she keeps her private letters and diary and gifts from Vincent in a box, she thinks nobody knows about. Her room smells like powder and maybe some lavender. She presses flowers in her books, and she rips pictures from magazines to pin to her mirror beside all the silky, wispy scarves all pink and white and so many blues. Ginny tries to be like the women in the pictures. I saw her once standing in front of the mirror sucking in her tummy and sticking her chest out.

I can feel the silky rope handle of the box, but I don’t open it ’cause the screen door slams and I need to be quick and sneak out the door. I pull a scarf from the mirror and shove it into the pocket of my coveralls. It’s blue like the sea on tv, not the sea outside the door. The fighting is shorter now since Ginny stopped listening to Mama.

At night, when I sneak into Ginny’s room, I tell her I didn’t tell, and Ginny says she guesses Mama must be psychic. ‘Yeah,’ I say, ‘she’s like a witch.’ Ginny laughs and I ask her if she’s gonna marry Vincent, but she won’t answer. She says go to bed and that I better put her scarf back tomorrow or she’ll choke me with it.

Trasie Sands is a Toronto writer and editor of The Blake-Jones Review. Her publications include The Antigonish Review, Fictive Dream, 101 Words, and Project Calm Magazine. Trasie has also been long-listed for a Bath Short Story Award. She has studied under Dr. Alistair MacLeod, Dr. Bruce Meyer, and Adele Wiseman while obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Windsor.