Trent is stacking bags of fertilizer by the curb because they are on sale. He sees me and touches his hat brim. Trent is good, he knows what he's doing, because he's always looking, always making you watch for him.
Later on Trent says, "You want a ride somewhere, doll?" Trent calls everybody doll or baby. "Why not," I say, and climb in his pickup and slam the door. "And where do you want to go?" he asks. "Wherever," I say, because there aren't many choices.
"All right." He pushes the pedal down. Trent has been around here since God knows when. Someone said he graduated from high school when I was in fifth grade. But at least he stayed.
He drives down deserted streets with the store windows all boarded up and quiet. Times like these I promise to take up a hobby just to have something to talk about with people.
We roll down the country road past grayed-out farm houses with their screen doors and shutters all cockeyed like they've taken a beating. We wind up at his little house, and the truck stops and we hop out and the dust puffs up in a cloud. The dirt is red out here and it stains you if you touch it.
"You ought to at least get a TV," I tell him while we drink beer on the porch. "We could watch a movie." He laughs and it's probably because I sound so young talking about TVs and movies. "We could watch porn," I say, and this makes him laugh harder. Trying to rub the red out of your socks only makes it spread deeper.
On Friday night, at the abandoned rock quarry, lit by the backwash from the ballpark lights, Trent fucks me in a pile of tiny gravel. He mashes into me with his hands in my hair. We sink in and the rocks make a rustling click-click sound and his beer-cold tongue tastes good, like a man. The towering lights hum.
Mouth to neck, there is something beneath that smell from the feed store. There's the bitter chemical taste of hand soap. He says, "Oh, baby doll." At work, he rolls his sleeves to the elbow. He helps customers carry heavy dirty things to their trucks, his arms flexing, shoulders bulging, sweating. Then he washes up in the staff room sink. When he looks over the bookkeeping late at night, he takes off his hat, he wears glasses. He is well beyond things like homecoming dances and baseball games on Friday nights.
He says "oh" again and again and there is a small thing in his voice like happiness. My hips begin to hurt but I don't say anything because high school boys try so hard not to lose their cool, you start to wonder if they're even there, really. The rocks are sharp and cold on my legs and they dig in and take hold. I would stay here all night if I could, with the hum and the ache and this taste in my mouth.
The ballpark lights fall dark at midnight as Trent is buttoning his jeans, and the hum goes from the air. He pulls me up. I brush rocks from the backs of my legs and pluck them from my hair. Trent starts the pickup and turns on the headlights. In the sloping wall of gravel, a faint indention, me with a weight pressed on top.