CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FORTY-FIVE
Thursday evening — 6:41 p.m.
Kayenta, Arizona, at the hotel on the Navajo Reservation
“Okay, thanks,” Kimber said. “I’m just …”
“If you feel up to it,” Valerie said. “Just take care of yourself, first. We’ll be here for a few more days, so that’s more days of heat, dirt, and signs.”
“Thanks,” Kimber said.
She gave Valerie a big smile and walked down the hallway to find Candy, her new mother. After seeing Blane for a treatment, Kimber had decided to join Nash, Teddy, and Noelle on the water well sites. She and Noelle had spent the day directing traffic while Nash and Teddy, because they were older, had spent the day hauling things and cleaning up the sites. They’d worked with a team of Navajo teens about their age. Noelle and Kimber had worked on the sign team with Valerie.
It was ridiculously fun. Kimber secretly liked the idea that she was making her own money, money that Candy had said she could spend on whatever she wanted. Kimber fell asleep each night thinking about what she might buy. At first, it was just some music or maybe an iPod. But she had a lot of that now. Then she thought about the clothes she wanted to buy. She realized that she had all the clothes she and her siblings could ever wear and then some. Last night, she realized that if she worked this week and then on Saturdays until the summer, like the other kids, she’d have enough money to get her mom a nice headstone.
Candy told her that morning that she would match whatever money Kimber made. They would go look at headstones as soon as they returned to Denver. Candy talked to Kimber about maybe starting a savings fund for college.
Kimber felt a sense of pride and purpose that she’d never in her life felt before.
This afternoon, though, Kimber was covered head to toe with dirt and dust. She was so exhausted that she’d slept the back seat of the SUV on the way back to the hotel. She was on her way to take a shower and go straight to bed when Valerie had told her about a dinner with the sign team.
Kimber really liked being on the sign team. She didn’t want to miss a dinner!
“There you are!” one of the mean girls from the pool said.
The other mean girls came up behind the first. Kimber was too tired to even remembering their names.
“Hey,” Kimber said. “I was just going to find my mom.”
“We’re heading back out to the pool,” the girl said.
“Where you been?” the second girl asked.
Kimber blinked. The girl was white, financially well off, and well educated. Kimber wondered vaguely if she’d sounded as stupid when she was a mean girl.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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