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I bend down and start picking up the pieces. His mother plucks him up and sets him a few feet away so that he's out of reach of the glass. His mother presses her hand to her forehead like she's exhausted and frustrated, and then bends down and starts helping me pick up the pieces.
I wink at him before she turns back around and I say, "I didn't see him standing there. I bumped into him and dropped it. She continues to help me pick up the larger shards of glass. The man who was standing at the register when I walked in appears out of nowhere with a broom and a dustpan.
The woman takes her little boy's hand and walks away. The little boy glances over his shoulder and smiles at me and it makes taking the blame so worth it. I return my attention to the man with the broom. I'll only charge you thirty, though.
I'm not so sure that little boy's smile is worth thirty dollars. I walk my pageant trophy back to its home and pluck a much cheaper, much less appealing trophy from the shelf.
I take it to the register and pay for the shattered pig and my first place bowling trophy. When the man hands me the sack and my change, I head toward the door. Right when I go to push it open, I remember the guy who was watching me from the second-floor railing.
I glance up before I walk out the door but he's no longer there. Somehow this makes me feel even heavier. I walk out of the store and cross the street, heading for one of the tables near the fountain.
I've lived in Hopkins County my whole life, but I rarely make it down to the square. I don't know why, because my love for it was solidified when they put up the strange crosswalk signs.
The signs display a picture of a man crossing the street, but his leg is lifted high in the air and it's exaggerated to the point that it could pass as a silly walk out of a Monty Python show. There are also two bathrooms the city had installed a few years back. They're two glass structures that look like a tall cube of mirrors from the outside, but when you're inside the bathrooms you can see out.
It's disturbing that a person can be sitting on the toilet doing their business while watching cars drive by. But I'm drawn to unusual things, so I'm one of the few who probably take pride in the strange bathrooms. The guy from the antiques store is standing next to me now and I can say with complete certainty that he is most definitely attractive.
His eyes are a unique shade of light blue, so they're the first thing to stand out. They seem out of sync with his olive skin and severely dark hair. I stare at his hair a moment. I'm not sure I've ever seen hair that color of black on someone with eyes that color of blue.
It's a bit jarring.
For me, anyway. He's still smiling at me just like he was from the railing in the antiques store. It makes me wonder if he smiles all the time.
I hope not. I like the thought that maybe he's smiling at me because he can't help it. He nudges his head toward the sack in my hand and I suddenly remember he asked me a question about the trophy. It's for me. I don't really know which one he's feeling, but I'm fine with either. Almost like he wants to keep it to himself. He slides his hands in his back pockets.
I drop my sack on the table next to us and slip off my sandals. I didn't want to be locked in a classroom. It's a section of concrete, flat on the ground in the shape of a star. The water comes out of holes around the star and spits toward the center. I press my foot over one of the holes and wait for the water to reach me. It's the last week of October, so it's too cold for kids to be playing in the water like they usually are in the summer.
But it isn't too cold to get my feet a little wet. I like it when the water hits the bottom of my feet.
And since I can't afford to get a pedicure, it's the next best thing. The guy watches me for a moment but honestly, I'm getting used to it. He's starting to feel like my own personal, slightly more attractive shadow. I don't look directly at him as he casually slips off his shoes.
He stands next to me and presses one of his feet over the holes. I glance at his arm now to get a closer look at the tattoos. I was right-they're only on his left arm.
His right arm doesn't have a single visible tattoo on it. But the tattoos on his left arm aren't what I expected. When this magical ARC was delivered to my doorstep and I read the press release, I knew this would be a really special read. I cleared my entire TBR schedule to be able to read this book immediately and I regret nothing.
Do you see how short the blurb above is? When everyone went bananas over that book last year, it made me pause and ponder if perhaps CoHo is moving her stories slowly in a different direction. Does it contain romance in the novel?
This new direction is something I feel will keep Hoover fresh, unique, and in demand for many years to come. When I began reading, I noticed the differences almost immediately.
Merit constantly compares herself to her twin sister Honor; always painting herself in a harsh, unforgiving light. How has this affected her sense of identity and self-worth?
How has it affected her relationship with Honor? How did this lead to what he did to Merit? How did it inform his behavior afterward? Do you agree with this? What does it reveal about her self-perception?
Luck opens up about his own struggle with depression and attempt to take his own life. What led each of them to believe suicide was their only solution? Or that their absence would be met with indifference? Why are many of these symptoms so easily brushed aside by some as being normal teenage behavior? When do they become a sign of a deeper imbalance?