Sally is a senior in high school, dealing with an alcoholic father and a young man who once was married to her best friend. The story takes place in the late 1960’s.
It was 7:00 p.m. and Sally’s father still wasn’t home. She knows what it means and so does Mona. “Sally, put the dishes on the table. Your father can eat when he gets home.”
“Mama, when I get done eating, I’m going to take my shower and go to bed. I’m reading a really good book. It’s called, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”
“I’ve heard of that book. Aren’t they making a movie from it, or something?”
“Yeah, I think so. Oh, speaking of movies, that reminds me. Linda and me want to go to the show Saturday afternoon. Is that all right? There’s a good movie on with Bette Davis.”
“Yes, you can go, but you have to get your ironing done first.”
“Okay, I’ll iron Saturday morning while it’s cool. I might even do some on Friday night.”
Sally and her mom talk while they eat their supper. Then Sally gets her shower and crawls up on the top bunk to read. Her room is in the middle of the house without any windows. She keeps a box fan blowing on her all the time. That’s the only way she can stand the oppressive heat.
Her dad comes in about 8:00. She can tell by his speech he’s been drinking. Mona finishes the dishes and sits down. She looks at her husband and asks if he wants something to eat.
“No I don’t want anything to eat. I’m not hungry. Besides, you know I don’t eat when I’m drinking. Me and a couple of the guys went to the Hilltop when I got off work.”
“I figured as much.”
“Where’s Sally? It’s too early to go to bed.”
“She’s in bed, reading.”
It isn’t but a couple of minutes after her dad arrives in the house she hears him yell her name.
“Sally, come out here. Sally, come out and see your ol’ dad.”
She jumps down from the bunk and walks into the living room. “Hi, Dad, you wanted to see me.”
“I sure did, do you want to drive my truck tomorrow?”
“Sure, I’d like to.” What’s going on? He never lets me drive his truck. He even has a hard time with mama driving it sometimes.
“If I drive your truck to school tomorrow, what will you drive to work”?
“I didn’t say a damn thing about you driving my truck to school. You won’t set foot in my truck tomorrow.”
“Oh, ok. I thought that’s what you meant, that I can drive it to school.”
“No, I didn’t mean that. You have your own damn car to drive. Get out of here, I don’t want to look at you anymore.” Her dad says in a sarcastic tone. Sally tucks her head and leaves the room. I wonder what that was all about. I can’t win with that man.
Sally climbs up to her bunk and tries to get back into her book wanting to forget about her father. She can hear his voice getting louder and louder as he talks. She turns out her bedroom light so her father will think she is asleep. Maybe he won’t wake her. It’s not going to be easy to go to sleep with his yelling, and it’s so hot in here.
Sally is suddenly woke by her father’s turning the room light on. “What did you just say to me? I told you, you are not driving my truck.”
“Daddy, I’ve not said anything. I was asleep until you woke me.”
“Yeah right. I heard you, so don’t bother lying.”
“Please, Daddy. I won’t drive the truck tomorrow. I want to go back to sleep.”
“You’re damn right you won’t drive the truck. Ungrateful kid.”
He walks away from her door, and Sally has to crawl to the foot of her bunk to turn out the light. She has a difficult time getting back to sleep, but she finally drifts off.
Friday finally arrives. Sally has it all planned to get the ironing done this evening so she can sleep in in the morning. Mona is in the kitchen preparing to start their supper. Some of the family is coming over, so it will be a good dinner. Sally calls out to her mom, “Mama, I’m going out front and sit for a little while and let it cool down more before I start my ironing”.
“Okay,” Mona says as she stands at the sink peeling potatoes.
Sally wasn’t outside ten minutes when Bill pulls up. She groans inwardly and waits for him to walk up to the bench. “Hi, Bill, what are you up to?”
“I stopped by to see if you want to go to the drive-in with me tonight.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Mama won’t let me. I have to do my ironing.”
“Where is your mom?”
“She’s in the house starting supper. Why?”
Bill didn’t answer her because he was already through the screen door. He’s inside about five minutes. Sally can’t stand the suspense of wondering what he is up to, so she went inside. Bill is standing in the kitchen talking to Mona.
Bill gets a big smile on his face, “Your mom says you can do your ironing in the morning and go to the show with me. Isn’t that great?”
Sally’s eye’s cut to her mama’s and Mona’s head is bobbing up and down. Oh, god, I’m done for. Now what am I going to do? “Oh, that’s wonderful.”
“I’ll pick you up at 7:00. You should’ve eaten by then. The movie called Adam and Eve is on at the drive in. Your mom told me you’d wanted to see it.”
“Yeah, I wanted to see it, but I was going to wait until it was inside at the Okla.”
“Well, now you don’t have to wait. I’ll see you later.” He walks from the kitchen and out of the house.
“Mama, why did you do that?”
“I got tired of him asking me to take you out. So now, he can take you out and leave me alone. Now little girl you either shit or get off the pot”.
“Mama, what a thing to say.”
“You know exactly what I’m saying. You haven’t ever told him no. You keep making excuses. Now you can’t make any more excuses.”
Oh, my life is ruined.
Sally’s date shows at straight up 7:00. Her mom answers the door when he knocks. He comes into the living room and waits for Sally to finish getting ready. He and Mona have a nice conversation. Finally, Sally comes out. Bill’s eyes brighten when he sees her. “Wow, you look nice.”
“Thank you,” Sally says as Bill stands and they walk to the door together. He opens the door for her and she steps through. She walks down the walkway towards his car. He hurries and gets to the car door just as she reaches for it. “Here, I got that.” He opens the door and she slides in. Since this is a date, I guess I shouldn’t hug the door like I did last time. She consciously tries to relax.
Bill walks to his side of the car and gets in. He’s all smiles as he takes them to the drive-in in McAlester. He’s talking the entire time he’s driving. Sally smiles and nods her head a lot. She’ll answer his question if he asks one, but never starts talking.
Once he gets to the Drive-In and parks, he looks at Sally and asks. “Would you like to go to the concession stand and get a Coke and some popcorn?”
“Sure, can we sit on the swings until time for the movie to start.”
“You like to swing, do you?”
“Yes, I do. I like to go up high and let the wind blow my hair. It’s fun.”
“Okay, I haven’t been on a swing in a very long time.”
The two of them sit on the swings and drink their Coke. They decide not to get popcorn until the movie starts. Bill pushes Sally on the swing and she laughs.
“That’s a nice sound to hear. I haven’t heard you laugh since me, you and Jackie were running around together. I’ve missed your laugh.”
“Bill, isn’t it time for the show to start? We’d best get our popcorn and another drink and head for the car.”
Braking herself with her feet, Sally gets off the swing. They walk to the concession stand and then back to his car. He opens the door on his side of the car and Sally slides over. Bill gets in beside her and puts the speaker in the window.
Sally wasn’t enjoying the movie at all. “I thought this would be a good movie, but it isn’t. It’s really overrated.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty bad. Do you want to go get something else to drink?”
“No thanks, let’s just go home. I’ve got to get up early in the morning to get my ironing done while it’s cool.”
“Oh, all right, home it is.” Bill removes the speaker and leaves the drive-in.
Pulling up in front of Sally’s home, Bill kills the engine on his car. He turns to Sally and takes hold of her right hand. Looking directly in her eyes, he says, ”Sally, I love you.”
Sally felt as if her lungs lost their air. She sputters “what!”
“I said I love you.”
“No you don’t!” Sally starts scooting to the passenger door and grabs the handle, opens the door and begins to get out of the car.
“Sally, don’t tell me how I feel. I love you and I have for a long time. Just think about it for a few days. You don’t have to say anything now.”
“Night, Sally. Think about what I said.”
He starts the car and pulls away. Sally is speechless and doesn’t know what to think. This event is a total shock. Now what am I going to do?