PEARL HARDEN Nick Ripatrazone
Father was mayor. Inauguration was on an overcast day. Clouds couldn’t dull the row of Ford Fairlanes mint, red, and black. Silver bumpers so close the shine passed between them. School jazz band oversold “Cheesecake” and PTO mothers flipped pretzels in salt and powder. The deputy mayor walked out of the Port-a-Potty and clapped his hands. His wife, a realtor known for using a seller’s shower during an open house, stood on the lowest level of the temporary bleacher. She’d forgotten her sister’s birthday and knew she wouldn’t be forgiven. Pearl wore two sets of gloves and her hands sweat cold. She hadn’t talked to her father all day. She sat in the back seat of the car and watched a man from the VFW take off his hat. The man set it on the fence and forgot it. Pearl could have said something. Instead she took off one set of gloves and stuffed them in her purse.