The Widow's Trailer
By Aaron Teel
Ryan stole twelve Shiners from dad’s stash in the shed. We drank them warm in the ditch behind the park, sitting on skateboards and smoking discarded cigarette butts without fear. We drank them fast, bottle for bottle, playing it cool and suppressing the urge to gag. After four beers Ryan said, “watch this,” and took his skateboard to the top of the ditch. He tried to drop in off its lip and fell hard on the concrete, bouncing and skidding and smacking his head. I laughed louder than I should have, made careless by the beers. He stood up quick, holding his head, and told me to touch my toes.
“No man, I’m sorry. I wasn’t laughing at you.”
“Touch your Goddamn toes,” he said, and I did, and he kicked me squarely in the behind. His aim was such that my eyes watered and my ears rang and afterwards we sat quietly for a while on either side of the ditch, waiting for our pain to pass.
A mongrel dog wandered up the ditch and we poured Shiner on the concrete for him. He licked it up then sauntered along, wagging his tail and panting.
When we’d drank enough of the Shiners that we could carry the rest with us, we skated along the ditch with bottles sticking out of our pockets like joeys from kangaroo pouches. Now and again we popped out of the ditch to see what we could see. As the sun went down we took to peering into trailers, looking for an empty one with unlocked windows, but there were full of shirtless men with hairy shoulders and we were too drunk to rob anybody quietly.
After a while Ryan said “I know where there’s a lady who sleeps naked by her window.” He looked at me, solemn, with his eyebrows raised. “She don’t have any clothes on, you can see her pretty good.” I doubted it but thrilled in my stomach with the hope it would be true. We walked, holding our skateboards, to a part of the park I’d never seen. The trailer was a silver singlewide parked in a corner lot, its wheels exposed and rotting. When we approached her window Ryan put his hand over my mouth and I could smell the half dozen butts he’s smoked in the ditch.
“She’s supposed ta be a widow or somethin’. She sleeps all the time but you can’t touch her. She’ll wake up if you touch her.”
“I’m not gonna touch her,” I whispered, incredulous, wrenching his hand from my mouth. He took me by the wrist and pulled me around the far corner of the trailer to her bedroom window. He stood there for a moment, transfixed, gazing in, then stepped away suddenly and motioned at me with a jerk of his head to stand where he had been.
I understood then why he warned me not to touch her, because I could have. There was no screen on her window and I could hear her breathing, see the rising and falling of her heavy breasts and the folds of dimpled flesh around her waist. I stared at her and loved her and wanted her. My head swam with the thrill of it, followed by my stomach, and I threw up in the grass outside the widow’s trailer.
Ryan led me home, laughing, not unkindly, and fetched me a ginger ale from the kitchen. “Go on and puke some more if ya need to,” he said, and in the bathroom sink I puked up Shiners, concentrating on the drain. The room spun in woozy concentric circles around it but the drain stayed centered, like a pivot.
Aaron Teel studied creative writing at the University of North Texas and has published pieces in the North Texas Review and The Fold Magazine. He was a contributing editor for the North Texas Daily and is currently a contributing writer for Art Prostitute Magazine.
photo by Dinty W. Moore