Sylvia sat on the hood of the the Ranger, the engine still warm against the cool autumn breeze. Inhaling her cigarette, she watched a family of four spill out of the diner. Still dressed in their Sunday best, the father was dragging a crying toddler in a mini suit and tie and the mother swatted a hand at the little girl tugging at the collar of her dress.
“It’s itchy!” The girl objected, squirming away from her mother.
“Young ladies do not fidget with their clothing in public,” the mother intoned as her child glared up at her.
Sylvia snorted back a laugh, looking down at her sandals as they passed by her. Slowly exhaling the cigarette, she realized just how much her life had changed. She used to be those people. She used to be just like that mother, clacking along the sidewalk in heels that pinched like hell, pretending to have everything under control, pretending everything was perfect.
But what a difference a year makes, Sylvia thought with a chuckle. Here she was, on a Sunday morning, sitting on a beat up pickup truck in jeans and a t-shirt with no bra, tousled hair hidden by a bandana, still a little high, smoking a cigarette while she waited for her girlfriend to come back out with breakfast.
“Daddy’s rolling in his grave right now, I’m sure.” She leaned back on the hood, enjoying the sun basking down on her. Subconsciously, she quickly check the western sky to confirm her stars were still there. Satisfied, Sylvia closed her eyes and took another long drag on the cigarette. She realized that a year ago, had she walked by herself at this moment, she would have averted her eyes and hurried past.
“What the hell was I afraid of?”
“Talkin’ to yourself again, babe?” Esther opened the driver’s side door and tossed two plastic bags on the floorboard of the cab.
“Always,” Sylvia rolled off the hood, flicked the cigarette butt in the gutter and opened the passenger door to climb in. “That smells awesome! God, I’m starving now.”
“And you wanted to lay in bed all day,” Esther laughed. “I hope you like cheesy hash browns. Kat says the churchgoers ate ’em outta grits an hour ago.”
“Sounds perfect, sweetheart. Thank you.” Sylvia slid her hand across the cab, taking Esther’s hand and giving it a squeeze. They locked eyes. “Really. This is perfect.”
“Good,” Esther’s eyes sparkled. “Cuz if I tried to eat it all by myself I’d explode.”
Laughing, Sylvia leaned back in her seat and glanced out the window as Esther backed out of the parking lot. Her stars twinkled back at her against the bright blue sky. This was gonna work.