The Fall of Rowdy Yates

The old woman hadn’t thought of her grandmother’s bedroom in forty years.  She lay in the snowbank and remembered the pale draperies that puffed at the windows; the round blue and cream hooked rug that even then had been in the family three generations.  She loved to stand at the vanity’s huge mirror with dark wooden scrollwork of horses rearing up on each side of the looking glass. She wasn’t allowed to use her grandmother’s gold hairbrush and hand mirror. She did anyway, though, leaving brown hair in the bristles.  If her mother found them, she’d be yanked over her mother’s lap and beaten. If her grandmother found them, the elderly lady would wink at her as she pulled out the long brown strands and tucked them in the small, oval wastebasket under the tissues and magazines to hide them. Horses also stampeded across the scrollwork on the bed.  She and her one-year-older cousin would twist blankets around the footboard and pretend to be cowboys.  Yippee-ki-ya.

Her bag was still on her shoulder, but the zipper had split open and the contents scattered, no doubt destined to remain under the snowdrift until spring. From the direction of the busy pharmacy down the block she heard voices. 

“Are you alright?” one of the voices called out. “Did you hurt yourself?” the other voice shouted.  Two young men hurried toward her down the center of the sidewalk where it was shoveled. One wore his store uniform. The other wore a parka.  “Hang on,” they said.  “Stay where you are. We’ll help you up.” 

To her, the clomp of their boots sounded like galloping horses.

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