Sugar turned the corner that held Bigelow’s only schoolhouse. It was small, white and unassuming.
She stopped short, dead in front of Fayline’s House of Beauty, and peeked in at the women whose hair was in the process of being washed, dyed, teased, conked or pressed into the latest styles from New York, Detroit and Washington, D.C.
No one said hello, welcome or even invited her in for a Coke. No, they just sat, openly watching her, their arms folded deﬁantly across their breasts, hands resting in resistance on their hips, as she examined the chipped blue paint on the dusty store front glass that separated them from her. The paint that used to be a brilliant blue and would have in the past screamed FAYLINE’S HOUSE OF BEAUTY, but years of winter wind and summer sun had faded the letters so that they barely whispered to you what and whose establishment you stood in front of.
She moved on, aware of the pandemonium that was brewing around her.
Sugar walked slowly down a narrow dirt road, sycamores on either side giving an eerie shaded feel to the walkway. The homes that lined the street were identical in every way except colour. Small, neat, board-and-shingle houses, painted white, light grey or a watery sort of blue. Two ﬂoors, two windows to each of the ﬁve rooms. Fenced-in yards that held sleeping dogs or guileful cats and mulberry bushes that sat beneath open windows shading blooming azaleas.
A sign, rusted and bent nearly in half by a passing twister or unruly adolescent, swung around and around on the lone post, stopping brieﬂy as the breeze that guided its frantic spin lulled.