We drove in silence for a few minutes. She leaned over and turned on the radio. We picked up the Indians game. I looked over at her. Amber was staring straight ahead. Sara had given her the Uvarovite drop earrings I had given her for Christmas a few years back. The headlights of the passing cars illuminated her face, the earrings sparkling in the dark. I noticed a bubble of a tear welling up in her eye closest to me. She turned to me and I saw it slide down her high cheekbone.
“I love you so much,” she said. She bussed the side of my face and wiped the tear out of her eye.
“I love you, too.” I rubbed her ear, feeling the earring, remembering doing the same thing to Sara.
“She said every time you saw them on me, you would remember
her.” Amber stared at me and then snuggled up next to me, drawing her legs up onto the seat, her face looking out. I stroked the top of her head. She stared out of the side window. I looked down in a few minutes and she was sleeping beside me. The moon was pouring through the side window, bouncing off her bare legs. Goosebumps were rising on her thighs. I reached in the back and pulled a blanket up from the back seat and covered her. She nuzzled into my neck. I listened to the game all the way home. Charles Nagy was throwing a shutout against the Yankees, his elbow shot to hell, bone-on-bone every pitch, pitching on nothing but guts and grit. Bone-on-bone. My emotional equivalent. Tom Hamilton was at the mike, top of the ninth evening, as we ran the ridges of Central Ohio finding our way home. As Bernie Williams helplessly flailed at Charles’s last pitch, Tom Hamilton screamed his lungs out in response. Amber stirred next to me.
“Charles win?” she asked, half asleep.
“That he did.” I stroked her hair silently. “And so did I.”
“I’ve got you, don’t I?”
“You call that winning?” She kissed my cheek. “You poor, poor witless idiot.”
. . .from the forthcoming novel. . .Dreamers on the Rise