Thursday, February 5, 2009

Belt loops by Crystal Folz

We go to a party at a friend's farm. The moon sits in the sky, as bright as the Skoal ring on the back pocket of my husband's blue jeans. I carry food into the house. He totes his guitar and cooler out to the weathered gray barn.

Moths whirl in the spotlights set up around the table. Laughter stirs the tassels on the corn. They play Hank Sr., Waylon, and Kristofferson before meandering into that harmonic southern rock they quietly strummed in their rooms when learning to play the guitar.

Sometimes on date night we take the pickup. Before we leave, my husband cleans out the truck. Tool belts and safety glasses and shotgun shells are placed inside the garage door. He gets a sheet from behind the seat, one that has holes cut for seat belt buckles, and tucks it in tight. I prop my foot up on the dash, and he lets me take control of the radio.

I've always wanted men, not boys - gruff and greasy men who seem to have been born knowing how to weld, whittle, and eye which socket they need to loosen a bolt.

There's little things I've stopped thinking about for a long time: the way he plays with the back pocket on my cutoff shorts when I sit in his lap; how he tucks the sheet between us on hot nights so we don't stick together; how he says my accent is sweet, secretly knowing I've spent years trying to shorten those long vowels and remember the 'g's at the end of my words; and those calloused hands, fingers that snag strands of hair when he brushes it over my shoulder.

I lean up against the truck, fixing to grab him another beer, and wonder if he wants me to be hard enough to take care of myself, or soft enough to let him drag me back by my belt loop whenever I walk away without kissing him first.