Yoharie: Breaking Up Together (part two)

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Photo of striated sunriseYoharie

Breaking Up Together
(part two)







They were good until four pm, and their front-row appointment at the Deloris Bros chapel. Good to zone into a mirror-world of car trips just for fun. Talk to their aunt, eat lunch at a restaurant…

“We’ll do drive-thru, unless no one’s hungry.”

“I’m hungry right now,” said Rae.

“Bout eleven, if we’re someplace we can. I was saying…” Shawna paused, and deciding, shook her head. “That it’s hard to have a real conversation in a car, with all the distractions.”

Uncle Zack would leave after the service, to pick up Wyatt, Beatty, and Grandma. Zack was the family visitor at the hospital, driving every few days from and to Columbus. On the phone, the view of the ICU bed fisheyed, the patient mottled, bandaged, stuck and bruised, hugely puffed…

It’s me, Savannah, I’m fine, I love you, Dad. Here’s Rae.

Dad, you’re all we have now. Get well.

You’re not supposed to…

Rae, with a silent, hard look, giving the phone to Grandma.

Jeremiah. Breaking, tears.

When Shawna had left them, Grandma would stay. Grandma, Savannah thought, couldn’t handle these back-and-forths. She didn’t want to sell her house, she would cry over the stuff having to come off the shelves, the Capodimonte and Fenton from the shopping (her name for QVC). Grandpa Mike’s tools out of the garage, Dad and Zack’s school papers, Zack’s tennis trophy, Dad’s Junior Businessman plaque…

She shouldn’t, shouldn’t, sell the house, and do all this. She should let them fend. Nobody could get their head around it, an eighteen-year-old in charge. Rae opened a coffee thermos, offering none to Savannah. Savannah dug barbecued chips out of her knapsack, and offered none back.

“Maybe I’ll start with the vacations,” Shawna said. “Your Grandpa Mike liked to rent a houseboat, at Dale Hollow, and fish.”

“Wherezat?” said Rae. She was talking for Makim, and in a hostessy way including them all, livestreaming their crossing of the Y Bridge at Zanesville.

“Wow,” they heard him say.

“Can you tell your boyfriend goodbye, hon? Tennessee. Mike and Irene were part of a bunch that got together every summer. Zack and Jer went as kids. And when we were first married, I went a few years with Zack. Down 75 from Cincinnati, and when we got to Florence, we’d eat at Big Boy. Your grandpa had a limited few places he was happy with. If you tried someplace ‘for the kids’, or ‘too fancy’, you’d hear about it. Not just through the one meal. So, the Big Boy has this hot fudge sundae cake…”

“Yeah!” said Rae.








“And there was some deal on. Was it Irene’s birthday? No, it was like a door coupon…anyway, we had our burgers and fries and the waitress came and said what about dessert, and Mike was, let’s get the check and go, and Irene was, I don’t know, I think I might have cake. And Mike goes to Irene, don’t do that. Then a smarmy little grin at the waitress. And to her, not Irene, ‘she doesn’t need any more sugar’. So, that went like that. Let me think of another…”

Savannah saw herself with Grandpa Mike, in the backyard, with the cement pillar birdbath, his friend’s Woody Woodpecker feeder.

“You like that? I bet you don’t know who that is. Get your Dad to sing you the song. He used to watch those, those cartoons. You kids don’t watch em.”

Her throat got lumpy. Poor Dad, when she’d asked, innocent, at the supper table, with Zack and everyone there—

I don’t think it was a song. It was just…

Come on. Sing it so your girls know how it went.

Red in the face. Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah…

Nah. That how you remember, Zack?

Zack, not embarrassed, gave the full imitation, the woodpecker’s laugh, a trumpet through his fingers…

But Savannah knew she was her father. She would have slid under that table and stayed. Rae would have said, fuck you, Grandpa Mike.


Just pull the trigger. I don’t care if you hit one, happy if you do, but you don’t need to try aiming.

Savannah had weighed the pistol. Grandpa said it was a toy gun, an air gun. Its heaviness to her was that of the watering can full, Grandma’s little one for flowers. She went over to him after emptying this on the petunias, and he put his thumb on the hose nozzle, spritzing her. He laughed.

He crouched and braced her arms, and told her again to pull the trigger.

The starlings…they were flocking the neighbor’s lawn…rose in unison, arced away and landed, a few, on a distant neighbor’s fence. Some went to the weird hacked street trees, the silver maples.

“Now why can’t that hawk come get the starlings? Caught one of my cardinals yesterday. They don’t let you take potshots at birds they put protections on.” He had winked at her. “You’re just a little kid…”

The joke was funny to Grandpa Mike, but he didn’t say any more out loud.

She remembered her father telling her mother that Grandpa was really careful with the guns, wouldn’t let the kids play by themselves.

“We never got BB guns when we were growing up.”

“Mike thought BB guns were small time.”






Breaking Up Together

Virtual cover for novel YoharieSee more on Yoharie page














(2022, Stephanie Foster)




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