Thursday, November 11, 2010

Identity Confusion

She stared at the mud caked on the back of Jud's neck. That had to be uncomfortable; you couldn't fit more dirt in the treads of a monster truck tire. Did he plan on cleaning himself soon? Or would he have to wait until the nearest car wash opened? Had cars been invented yet? How did she find herself in this forsaken and bare dirt -- so much dirt -- place? Was this Kansas? Why was she even in the bathtub anyway? Would there be any grit-free clothing to put on when the water grew too cold around her? Was she really expected to marry mud man anyway? Could she actually be attracted to someone named Jud?
And why does everyone want to be the pretty young girl in the tub staring at the wrong side of the cowboy's neck?
Standing beside the bath, holding out a thin towel, the calico-dressed mother seems so much more knowing. She is stretched and faded with dust, but her position of experience (if it is a disappointed position) is surely better.
Maybe she was the mother, not the daughter. But if she was the mother, she would never let her daughter marry a man so unfamiliar with water. She would never allow a not-yet-groom in the bathroom with her bathing daughter, no matter how long he kept his back turned and head bowed. She would never name her daughter Callie and live on the barren prairie.
The girl grasped the high, curved side of the tub for balance and stood. She was neither the daughter or the old mother and she needed to wake up and take a shower. This dream had grown ridiculous... and she did not want to stick around for the heartbreaking wedding. The dirty cowboy was not that cute.

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