by Janice Daugharty
Copyright 2010 Janice Daugharty
First published in the Savannah Journal
Hiking the quick rise of the river bank behind Jack, to meet the sun slipping up the other side, Davey watches the raying round of his new brother-in-law like the glory off of Jesus in the picture at church.
Everything is different now, and Davey wishes with all his wild-beating heart that he hadn't come fishing this time.He wishes Jack hadn't gone and messed up and married his sister Mayre yesterday.Even Davey's generally keen sense of direction in the woods is off this morning.His sense of smell too.And he's been here a thousand and one times, teetering above the creek-width black water of the Alapaha in Jack's tracks.And he's always liked it.
He breathes deep, untangling a line from the cane poles in one hand while trying not to slosh the bucket of minnows and water in the other.Hoping to get back the feeling, he sniffs the bay blooms, but they smell as thick and musky as pear blossoms in a hot room.
Jack tramps along the bank, bamboos ripping at his green twill britches legs.He pays the thorny vines about as much mind as he does Davey, which is none.Davey knows Jack's thinking about Mayre; he can smell that too, like cold in his head.He's only eleven years old, farm dumb, but smart enough to know Jack and Mayre slept in the same bed last night.And it feels all wrong.Jack's like a
brother; Mayre, Davey's sister.His favorite sister who used to call out his spelling words when he got off the school bus each evening.Close enough in the porch swing that Davey could smell her girl-grownness, her slipping away.