(Axel Boer) #1

just grabbed whatever she’d brought him and kept walking toward the corral.
She would follow and try to talk to him while he fussed over his horses, until
one evening she asked if he would teach her to ride. I tried to explain that our
horses weren’t broke all the way, but she was determined, so Shawn put her
on Apollo and the three of us headed up the mountain. Shawn ignored her
and Apollo. He offered none of the help he’d given me, teaching me how to
stand in the stirrups while going down steep ravines or how to squeeze my
thighs when the horse leapt over a branch. Sadie trembled for the entire ride,
but she pretended to be enjoying herself, restoring her lipsticked smile every
time he glanced in her direction.
At the next rehearsal, Charles asked Sadie about a scene, and Shawn saw
them talking. Sadie came over a few minutes later but Shawn wouldn’t speak
to her. He turned his back and she left crying.
“What’s that about?” I said.
“Nothing,” he said.
By the next rehearsal, a few days later, Shawn seemed to have forgotten it.
Sadie approached him warily, but he smiled at her, and a few minutes later
they were talking and laughing. Shawn asked her to cross the street and buy
him a Snickers at the dime store. She seemed pleased that he would ask and
hurried out the door, but when she returned a few minutes later and gave him
the bar, he said, “What is this shit? I asked for a Milky Way.”
“You didn’t,” she said. “You said Snickers.”
“I want a Milky Way.”
Sadie left again and fetched the Milky Way. She handed it to him with a
nervous laugh, and Shawn said, “Where’s my Snickers? What, you forgot
“You didn’t want it!” she said, her eyes shining like glass. “I gave it to
“Go get it.”
“I’ll buy you another.”
“No,” Shawn said, his eyes cold. His baby teeth, which usually gave him
an impish, playful appearance, now made him seem unpredictable, volatile. “I
want that one. Get it, or don’t come back.”
A tear slid down Sadie’s cheek, smearing her mascara. She paused for a
moment to wipe it away and pull up her smile. Then she walked over to
Charles and, laughing as if it were nothing, asked if she could have the
Snickers. He reached into his pocket and pulled it out, then watched her walk

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