Carmen sat in a park off of Clarkson Street watching teenagers play baseball. She drank wine from a plastic carton and swayed in the wind. No one could play very well in wind like that. Sometimes it was calm for a little.
Carmen was wearing a yellow dress that touched the ground. Her light brown hair was everywhere.
Emma walked up behind Carmen and sat next to her, facing away from the game.
“Why don’t you watch?” asked Carmen.
“Aren’t you afraid to get caught drinking that?” asked Emma.
“What do you mean?” asked Carmen.
“Never mind,” said Emma. She breathed through her nose and closed her eyes. She was short and wore the same pair of jeans all the time.
“Have you seen Tara?” asked Carmen.
“No,” said Emma.
One of the kids hit the ball and the bat rang out clear in the wind.
Carmen cheered and laughed. She drank more wine and offered some to Emma.
Emma drank some wine and passed the carton back. She said, “I was going to work tonight.”
“Don’t work,” said Carmen. “Watch the game.”
“I hate sports,” said Emma.
“Then go away,” said Carmen. She drank more wine and then asked, “What happened yesterday with Candice?”
“What do you mean?” asked Emma.
“Oh,” said Carmen.
The pitcher caught a ground ball and threw it to the first basemen. The first basemen missed it and ran off to get the ball. The runner advanced to second.
Carmen clapped her hands and laughed.
Carmen’s laugh made Emma feel a little better because it was a pretty laugh. Not like Tara’s laugh, which was so loud and obnoxious. It was fine for Tara to laugh like that, though.
Emma said, “What about Candice?”
“I ran into her at the store and she was talking about something happened last night. I don’t know what. Who cares.” Carmen drank more wine. “Isn’t it so nice? Out here on the bench?”
“It’s cold, kind of,” said Emma.
Carmen looked at Emma and then looked back at the game.
Emma said, “I heard you were thinking of leaving town.”
“How could I leave?” asked Carmen. “When it’s so nice. Out here. On the bench.”
“I never cared for this park,” said Emma. “We should go to a different one some time.”
“Emma,” said Carmen, “turn around and watch the game. You’re making everyone uncomfortable, looking that way.”
Emma turned around and Carmen gave her more wine.
“Don’t worry,” said Carmen, putting her arm around Emma, “tonight you w0n’t work. We’ll go to Brooklyn and drink cheap beer. We’ll play pool with boys and maybe find Kelsey. She can take us upstate or something. You won’t be cold and whiny. I’ll bring you a thick cardigan that my mother used to wear.”
“Ok,” said Emma. “But can we not stay here? It’s cold and this game is boring.”
“Well,” said Carmen, looking down through the opening of the empty carton, “why not? I hate baseball anyway.”
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