In high school, Rose drove a white American land shark that her father left in the garage when he was away on business. Once she drove up the coast with Tom and she didn’t feel fat, didn’t feel stupid, didn’t feel like a drag. They played the radio in the convertible but she couldn’t hear it with the wind off the ocean blowing her hair all around. She had a picnic basket and they had a picnic with Gallo wine, there by the cliffs at Refugio. She had a green Mexican blanket in the back seat, a little scratchy when they lay down on it. She never got cold. They drove back through Santa Barbara, past the palm avenue through Hope Ranch and along the white sand. When she drove around and around the dolphin fountain Tom was laughing, and he hardly ever laughed. She could make people laugh and she could make them cry: she realized this power when she was seventeen. Sex helped. Sex could close people or it could open them, and when they were open you could live your whole life with them in a couple hours. Rose had a gift for living. She wouldn’t live long.

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