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DO WHAT YOU WANT I Max Phillips SARA WAS DANCING a Uttle to keep her feet off the cold, gritty cement. The reflection in the glass doors stopped her: an enormous young woman, nearly six foot four and muscular, jigging in the nude through the darkened pool house. Herself. She relaxed with an effort and began to hum and shimmy again, toweUing her flanks. Sara had a big, indistinct jaw, smaU black eyes, and chestnut hair in a braid the size of a chUd's arm. It hung along her spine, hard and heavy with water. Outside, the moon Ut the blocks of granite and marble and the pUes of metal rod scattered over her parents' long backyard. It gleamed on a cluster of Sara's early sculptures. Sloping through the glass doors, it sent gUding ripples of pool-Ught over Sara, her boyfriend Howie, and the rolled carpet in the corner. The Kaprows once planned to make the pool house a fuUy furnished cabana, but it remained a storeroom for cast-off armchairs, garden tools, and Sara's first set of welding equipment. She could smeU the flats of Swedish ivy and blue iris her mother kept meaning to plant on Nana's grave. This was Howie's first visit to her parents' house on the Jersey shore. They'd been there two days. Up the hUl, the Kaprows were probably watching Letterman while every Ught in the house glazed for her father, who liked things cheery. Sara plumped down next to Howie on the folding bed and combed her fingers through the fuzz on his wide back. He was already asleep. Whenever they spent the night together, Howie's last waking act was to curve himself carefully around her the way she wanted. Once asleep, though, he slowly spread out Uke a starfish, mashing her against the waU. Howie in bed was cheerful, clumsy, and rough, grabbing for everything two-handed like an infant; their first time, she'd finaUy had to stop him and explain what she liked, something she hated to do. He Ustened earnestly—she felt Uke a Peace Corps volunteer lecturing a tribal elder on hygiene—and when she was done, he nodded and resumed, doing everything she'd mentioned, roughly, clumsUy, and cheerfully. She climbed over him, padded to the old refrigerator, and put a beer into the freezer. Her yeUow cat Simon Ucked the air, wrinkUng his nose at the smeU of human sex. "Simon, what do you want?" The Missouri Review · 257 She scooped him up and set him on her shoulder, where he clung Uke a parrot, adding to the network of fine scratches there. After walking back to examine Howie's face, she shoved the bed with her knee, making it squeal and wobble. Simon scooted down her back. Howie woke and said, "Yes. What." "K-kuh-eep me company?" she said. He hauled himself up and sat rubbing his face. "You've stuttered more. In the last two days." He yawned. "Than you have in the whole time I've known you." He looked up at her with wide eyes. "Hi." He set his hands on her hips. Sara's arms and shoulders were large and smoothly made. Her body tapered severely to a hard waist, then sweUed toward big hips and thighs that were faintly rippled with fat. "Pretty. What are those big stone ladies who hold up the roof with their heads caUed?" "Caryatids." "Right. Like that---- You ought to wear draperies and a wreath instead of pants." "You're nice," she said, and hugged his face into her stomach. "I wasn't finished," he said indistinctly. She sat next to him and fidgeted with his fingers. "I know. I always interrupt when you say nice things. It's Uke when the waiter is filling your cup with coffee, and you say 'Thank you/ to make him stop pouring. Or it would run over, I guess. TaUc to me." Howie was twenty-seven, two years younger than Sara. He was a graduate assistant in chemistry at the upstate New York coUege where she'd recently begun to teach sculpture. They met at the opening of a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 157-168
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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