Rose Hill

She came up as though out of sleep when she was twenty, looked around at her life and started running. She ran like the Devil himself was at her heels (as maybe he was) and couldn’t bring herself to settle in any one place for too long. She liked Phoenix the best, though, and might have stayed there only the itch came back into her feet and off she went again, like a rocket, like a V-2 rising into the air over the English Channel.

Before she took off she was working in a nursing home washing dishes. It wasn’t a bad job though the pay wasn’t much, but at least they let her eat for free. Sometimes they sent her out into the dining room to help clear tables and the old people watched her work, sweat caught in the little black hairs that furred her upper lip, and reached after her with friendly, assertive hands. She growled at them and they laughed; slapped at their fingers and they tsked fondly. She hated them, their decaying age, their sly foolishness, their unstressed sexuality, and they loved her for it. They died and she carried their names forward with her, pressed into her flesh in the shape of gnarled fingers.