“You’re new around here, right? Got a job at that new bar up in Big Fork?”
“The Thirsty Man, yeah.” The girl, seeing Martha’s hands were full, lowered her hand.
“These parts are kind of small,” said Martha, by way of explanation. “News of strangers travels real fast. I’m Martha,” she said, knowing if Frank had talked about his wife, he would not have mentioned her first name.
“I guess news does get around.” The girl smiled. “Well, pleased to meet you, Martha,” the girl bobbed her head in place of a handshake. “I sure would like to take you up on that lemonade. That’s a real neighborly gesture.”
Martha walked around to the back of the house with the girl following and placed the bucket and the scrub brush on the back porch. There were two wooden chairs and she motioned for the girl to seat herself while she went into the house to get the lemonade.
As Martha pulled the pitcher out of the refrigerator and poured it into two glasses, she thought about the bandanna the girl wore. Martha had last seen it in a gift box in her husband’s drawer as she put his laundry away. A turquoise bandanna with a yellow border. Her sources at church had made sure to tell her that Frank had bestowed it upon his newest fling. Martha took the two glasses out to the back porch.
The girl was wiping her forehead with the bandanna and Martha saw its yellow border more clearly. The girl looked over at Martha and stretched out her hand to claim the glass of lemonade.
“Thanks. This’ll sure hit the spot.”
Martha watched, thinking how greedily the girl drank down half the contents of the glass without even stopping. When she did, she balanced the half-full glass on the arm of the chair as she surveyed the overturned back field.
“Looks like you’ll be doing some planting soon,” the girl said.
“Yeah,” Martha said slowly. “I was having a little trouble figuring out what to plant, but now I’ve decided.” Martha placed her wide body in the other chair and, sipping her lemonade thoughtfully, looked out over the field.
Later that evening, Martha sat in the rocking chair in her living room, waiting for her husband to come home. The sun had set a couple of hours ago. She’d taken a bath and changed her clothes after planting the back field. She wore a short-sleeved dress and flip-flops. She rocked back and forth. A distinctive bandanna tied delicately around her throat, highlighted her outfit. She was looking forward to Frank coming home.