The door to the trailer won't open. Cooper's truck is gone and Mac has not yet been granted key-keeping status, but he can hear Sylvia stomping inside. He knocks. No response. He keeps it up. After a while the child's face appears in the window; she's whisked away and he knocks again.
Shortly after, he drives down 80 to PeGe's for ice cream. He stands by one of the outside tables, looking at the overpass toward Rayville. Something bothers him about not being able to see the highway past the overpassthe woods and fields and swamps out that way. It's already out of the city limits here and he's noted for skittishness past municipal boundaries.
He goes back and tries the trailer again. This time Sylvia opens the door and asks what the hell he wants. He cannot think to merely say he lives here.
He just shrugs. She's cleaning the place. Everything is strewn, rearranged, unkempt, in transit. She walks away from the open door. He makes a quick check on his space and rambles back into the living area.
"In three years, he promised me," Sylvia says. "Three years and we would have a house. A real house." She's wearing a sundress, unusual instead of cutoffs and one of Cooper's shirts. She has a sunburned aspect, curious.
"I ain't staying in this shit-assing trailer."
No response from Mac.
"And if you think I am I'll kick your fucking ass out of this place."
Mac is at a loss. He offers what is left of his ice cream cone. She makes a retching sound.
He returns to his bedspace. It will be dark soon and he wonders where Cooper is. When he left the warehouse early in the afternoon Mac thought it had been to go home.
Mac realizes he's been asleep when Sylvia calls his name from the living room. The hall is dark and he stumbles on a reeking pile of clothes. He can hear the child crying before seeing her.
He's pretty sure Sylvia called him.
Sylvia is sitting on the couch, laughing. There's a hard definition to her lips; they are almost white, like the lipstick women used to wear from somewhere in his remembering. The child is sprawled on the floor in whimpers, face down.
"Lookthere's Mac! Pull your dress up for Mac! Pull it up like we do for Daddy!" The child refuses, crying louder.
Sylvia laughs harder, soundless, almost in tears of hilarity. "Looklike Mommypull it up!" She lifts her generously flowing hem.
To Mac the scene is remote and sourceless. Sylvia's underwear is typical enough and utilitarianly white. In the first instant he sees a woman, nothing more or less; someone like himself only different.
Yet the glimpse contains the shock of the unrecognizable, as though what was concealed were something impossible.
Sylvia pulls her dress down, then flashes Mac again, watching the child on the floor. She has not looked toward him standing there at all. The child wails and Sylvia doubles over in amusement, struggling for breath.
Before long, the adults in the room become two people with bodies different yet kin to one another, unremarkable members of a related species.
Mac has not moved when she suddenly stops laughing and sees himas if for the first time. "You creep!" The hem is immediately yanked down to her knees. Her eyes are frightened, caught. "Don't you dare touch me! Don't even think about it."
Uh, I wasnt, I. . .
You sorry perverted shit! Get out of here, now. Ill tell him, and he will cut your balls out of the sack before you can call home!!
Mac quickly makes for the door. The prostrate child lies frozen on the carpet. Sylvia's threats give way into ascending howls. This is even scarier than Cooper pulling something at work, or at the Women's Shelter.
It's another motel night.