Flaxville

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We found the last booth in the crowded restaurant. The waitresses knew him by name, and he seemed at home here, like it was his office. Me? No, they don't know me. Right now, I should be in school. I used to attend regularly, but I don't give a crap about academics. I'd rather be right here studying Dad. I watched him eat. There was a gleam in his eye as he gobbled down his omelet.

I pictured my grandmother standing in the field of her Montana farm. The wheat fields rippling while her plain cotton dress blows in the wind. The farmhouse is behind her. Beyond it, I see the top of the old windmill. I see the fat, round gear-box casting, the rust of its exterior a dark, rich red, and the cogged gears properly greased with pig lard. The organic thud, of the pump rod dropping as it contracted and faithfully pumped water, a stubborn heart still beating.

"Your grandma grew up in Flaxville and really never moved far from it. Some of the roads in town are still unpaved. We had space stations orbiting above and colonies on Mars, but people were still born dirt-poor in the middle of our country. She'd barely graduated high school, thought nothing about walking five miles to visit friends." I imagined her feet, young and flat against the hard plains. Her back straight like I'd never seen it.

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