This One's for You by Kate Sweeney

This One's for You by Kate Sweeney

Author:Kate Sweeney [Sweeney, Kate]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Published: 2023-02-07T00:00:00+00:00

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Utah is a wasteland of ecru rock and tiny towns and hillsides dotted with one-story houses with vinyl siding, until suddenly it’s not. Suddenly the rocks turn rusty orange and begin to tower in perplexing shapes against the sky, making the startling blue of it even bluer.

“I feel like, at any moment, a dinosaur is going to stomp right across the fucking road,” Syd says. She is craning her neck behind the steering wheel, as though somehow she’ll be able to take it all in. The windows are down and my arm is hanging out of the car, fingers combing through the air. Neil Young is crooning and it feels as much like a perfect moment as anything ever will.

Until Syd says, “I love Neil Young and all, but this is some misogynistic bullshit.”

And I laugh, hard.

We stop at a viewing station and Syd pulls out the peanut butter and bread we picked up at Target this morning when we bought our camping stuff from the Fourth of July section at the back corner of the store—a bright red dome tent with an American flag across the backside (on sale for thirty bucks), a red cooler, two camping chairs, and two American flag towels. Luckily my dad has this weird thing about keeping sleeping bags in the trunk—In case of adventure, he said once, although I don’t think this is what he had in mind.

Dad. Something about all of this feels so wrong when I think about him at home on the couch, drinking his Lagunitas and watching the ball game. I need to end this sooner than later. I need to call Kit Molina. But I don’t want to think about it right now.

We sit side by side at a concrete picnic table and I stack the bread four slices high on Syd’s knee, taking a slice and spreading the peanut butter. We eat our sandwiches, watching a hawk coast high above the red desert.

“This is probably the most exquisite and deadly place I’ve ever seen,” Syd says.

I frown, flicking a crumb from my shirt. “Deadly?”

“Yeah. Rattlesnakes, black widows, hobo spiders, scorpions. Not to mention dehydration, hypothermia, poison sumac, sunstroke.”

“Wow, Syd,” I say. “You really know how to kill the vibe.”

She laughs, “Kill the vibe!”

I roll my eyes, but inside I’m amazed at how much I am feeling. Everything is suddenly turned up to ten. Hot sun, brilliant red rock, Syd. I say, “Remember when you went through that phase where you wanted everyone to call you Black Widow?”

“Oh god,” she shakes her head. “I was such a nerd.”

“We both were,” I say, thinking of my Star Trek glasses case and Stem Rules lunch box.

“Yep,” she says. Then something in her face tightens and an awkward silence returns.

She says, “Did you know that Hannah and I used to be best friends?”

I try to picture it and fail completely. That’s how it’s been these past few days: I keep scrabbling at the past but I can’t always seem to remember it right.


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