“Jackie? Are you out here?” Rosie called from a few yards away. I held my breath and pulled my knees up to my chest.
“If you’re out here let me know.” Her voice faded away as she moved farther down the house.
I could hear Jared’s faint call from the other end of the driveway. I knew I should answer them, but I couldn’t. This place wasn’t full of sunshine and a dry heat perfect for my morning runs. The air didn’t stick to me in Tuscon like it was here. South Tucson was my home. I lived with my mom; I ate TV meals instead of the traditional family dinners. My home was a single story doublewide on the edge of a trailer park.
“Did you find her?” Jared asked somewhere to my right. Rosie’s steps came back around and stopped just past me.
“What was she thinking?” Jared sounded irate. Leaves crunched under his stride. “She’s been here all of seven hours and already causing trouble for me. She’s exactly like her mother.”
I sucked in a breath then clamped my hand over my mouth.
“Jared,” Rose said as if chiding a child. “We’ll find her.”
She took a step closer to my bush and I could see her above the top. I was sure she could see me, but she said nothing to him.
“Why don’t you head back inside? I’ll do one more pass out here.”
I could hear Jared mumbling as he stomped off. The front door banged shut then silence. I glance up to see Rosie staring down at me. Her arms were resting by her side and her mouth was set in a comfortable line. I brushed aside the branch that was tickling my forearm.
“Is it alright if I come sit?”
I nodded to her. She maneuvered around the twigs and sat on the edge of my bench. She reached up for my hair and pulled out a twig the size of my pinky. We didn’t talk. She just sat there in perfect peace.
“I shouldn’t have ran off,” I stated matter-of-factly. Rose didn’t even look at me. Her eyes were fixed to the few stars that had made their way into our view.
“I had this bench put in right after my dad died seven years ago.” She folded her hands into her lap before continuing.
“I would come out here to stare at the sky. My dad used to tell me that everyone you loved lived in the sky, so every time I looked at it I was showing them how much I loved them.” Rose glanced at me. She was smiling. “I think I’ll start trimming this bush again. Maybe I’ll get rid of it and plant a flower garden.”
She was staring at the sky again, and this time I watched with her. More stars twinkled into view and the moon cast a shadow on the lawn. Rose cleared her throat.
“I need to head back in, but take all the time you need.” She chuckled to herself and smiled. “I’ll deal with your dad. He’ll adjust to having you around in no time. Just give it time.” She stood and bushed her way past the leaves; her footfall fading into the night.