Last Streetcar at Twilight - Excerpted from "Prometheus Fit to be Tied"


White would leave his office at twilight and go to meet Atalanta at the interurban's depot. Atalanta supported

her father by teaching at a mission school in a small town twenty miles away. He'd meet her at the depot, the small electric train jolting into town on wobbly light rails in orange evening.


He'd wait and watch as maybe three or four people would step off then there she'd be, wearing a pale cotton dress, hips round beneath cotton, strong calves stepping down and one hand brushing back a wisp of brown hair, eyes down and maybe a little tired then looking up to see him.


They'd walk away, the depot behind them, the sound of the small odd train creaking and humming and pulling away, and Main Street mostly deserted with folks away to supper, but here and there a few children already out playing again, and breezes were just beginning to stir as the orange skies slid toward pink then purple. And Ernest White would walk beside her with this little smile coming now and again to his face, both of them looking down neither saying anything for a while, but Ernest White looking at her now and trying to catch her glance, then some small joke from him, or some funny thing he'd noticed that day and set aside in his mind like a little jewel to share with her. And when she'd look and smile and chide him for his childishness he'd put an arm around her and kiss her, and they'd walk together to his car or stroll to the hotel dining room for supper, and when he looked at her he knew he loved her very much. And after being quiet for a half-an-hour or so, just long enough to keep his insane horse play at bay while she recovered from her work, she would look up and have to agree she liked him, knowing full well that admitting as much would mean no sleep that night, as he'd pile her into his car and take her off for some all-night adventure, like to the smoky jazz halls. And the next day when she returned to the classroom she'd astonish all the children by looking like an absolutely beautiful disaster.

 

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