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Authors: Nicholas Ruddock

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How Loveta Got Her Baby

BOOK: How Loveta Got Her Baby
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how loveta got her baby

STORIES

NICHOLAS
RUDDOCK

BREAKWATER

P.O. BOX 2188, ST. JOHN'S, NL
,
CANADA, A
1
C
6
E
6
WWW.BREAKWATERBOOKS.COM

COPYRIGHT
© 2014 Nicholas Ruddock
LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION
Ruddock, Nicholas, author
How loveta got her baby / Nicholas Ruddock.
Short stories.
ISBN
978-1-55081-475-0 (pbk.)
I. Title.
PS8635.U34H69 2014      C813'.6      C2014-900560-1

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the publisher or a licence from The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). For an Access Copyright licence, visit
www.accesscopyright.ca
or call toll free to 1-800-893-5777.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts which last year invested $24.3 million in writing and publishing throughout Canada. We acknowledge the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador through the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation for our publishing activities.

PRINTED AND BOUND IN CANADA
.

Breakwater Books is committed to choosing papers and materials for our books that help to protect our environment. To this end, this book is printed on a recycled paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council
®
.

to
Cheryl
,
to the
Keepings
and the
Mays

con
-
        
tents

how loveta got her baby

squid

mistaken point

shuffle

how eunice got her baby

strait

scenario 2a.m.

fog

telescope

the housepainters

otto bond

sculpin

rickshaw

the alchemists

how it was for them

summer

pivot

how kiziah got her baby

the steamer

clothespin

the eye

burin

rigor mortis

the earlier misfortunes
        of justin peach

breathing like that

how
loveta
got her
baby

LOVETA ROSE GRANDY
was a pretty girl. She had blonde hair that she worked up in tight curls but she didn't fuss like the others. She didn't have to. Back then she had a boyfriend whose name was Philip John Savoury, and he worked at a decent kind of job. He was an apprentice welder near the airport. Weekdays, he studied welding from nine to five, and on weekends he picked up Loveta in a car he had, and they drove somewhere, and then they went for a walk.

“What kind of car is this?” she said to him the very first time.

“What kind of car?”

He had to look over at the dashboard before he said, “Camaro.”

It was a borrowed car from some other welder who worked nights and slept days. It had bucket seats.

Where'd they go? Well, the first place they went, the very first time, was Signal Hill. Everybody went up there and everybody went up to the top and pulled over and looked at the view. As for Loveta Rose Grandy and Philip John Savoury, they only drove to the bottom of the hill and then they pulled over in the Camaro. The road was so steep there, they had to turn the wheels to the curb. Then they got out and walked through the Battery. There was a big house there half-hidden by trees, with old-fashioned fencing, sticks interwoven together, but there were holes in that fence that let chickens through, out onto the road. But there was next to no traffic, because the road was narrowing down to about ten feet, so the chickens were okay.

“Hey look, there's a brown chicken,” she said.

“It's red,” he said.

“Russet,” she said.

They argued over the colour of the chicken but they didn't feel angry at all, it was just another way of laughing together. I mean, what's a chicken doing here, they both thought. It was a brown-red chicken, some kind of mixture, and it had a kind of nasty look in its eye while it picked up pebbles and walked around like a boss or a foreman.

“There's lots like that at work,” said Philip John.

“Teachers too,” said Loveta.

She was still at Holy Heart of Mary. She had those skirts from there, the ones with the pleats, but today she had on blue jeans.

“Wear jeans,” her mother had said to her before she left, “wear jeans in the car.”

Then she watched her baby girl as she went off in the Camaro with the young welder boy and then Loveta's mother imagined Loveta in the front seat with her knees up a bit, and she pictured her first in a skirt, and then in jeans.

That's why the jeans, she said to herself.

Meta Maud, she didn't worry much about Meta Maud, she more or less had her head together.

By then the Camaro was gone off down Pennywell Road.

After Loveta and Philip John Savoury left the chicken behind, they walked out along the road which went up and down beside the harbour. There was a lot of noise from winches and motors and there were seagulls standing on the roofs of the little houses they passed. There was a blustery wind which was cool and the seagulls all faced in the same direction, out the Narrows.

“There's a seagull, Philip John,” she said.

“That's a herring gull,” he said.

“It's a tern,” she said.

“It's a diving duck,” he said.

But they both knew it was no diving duck. How could a diving duck stand on a roof?

“Look at the mess they make,” said Loveta.

There were a lot of white spots on the tarred-up roofs.

“Guano,” said Philip John.

“Wouldn't want that on me,” she said.

“Loveta,” said Philip John, “that's nature's way, it's a free patch job for the people of the Battery. Once there was a fisherman here with a bad roof one winter and the gulls came by, fixed up the roof free of charge. One day water poured down the stovepipe and it sizzled on the stove, and the next day, after the gulls, it was dry as dry can be.”

“I don't believe that,” she said.

“It's the miracle of nature's fluids, Loveta, one of them anyway,” he said.

He took her arm then to help her step onto the grass that grew up near Chain Rock. Now they could feel the wind getting stronger, thumping against them in spasms, and there was an old bunker there from the war. They walked in front of that and stood on the edge of the cliff. There were no more houses now, they'd gone past them all and the noises from the winches and the motors were gone and they could feel the power of the waves as they hit on the rocks below. He let go of her arm. He wasn't all over her all the time, he gave her space.

“Look, blueberries,” he said.

“Past ripe,” she said.

“Oh no, these are fine.”

He bent down and picked a few that looked pretty good.

“They were better two weeks ago,” she said.

“Oh, the first bit of frost just peps 'em up, open your mouth,” he said.

Philip John Savoury put a blueberry on the tip of Loveta Grandy's tongue and she chewed it and swallowed it.

Her tongue was pink.

“That's good,” she said, “I admit that's good.”

Then the sun came out and it was so warm they kept on walking. The path got rougher and there was one point where they had to hang onto a chain that was drilled into the rockface. The path was only a foot wide. Loveta knew she'd die if she let go.

“You go first,” said Philip John, “You fall, I'll throw myself over, catch you on the way down.”

“Like Tinkerbell,” said Loveta.

“That's right,” said Philip John.

He watched her cross the slippery rock where only a goat should go, the nice blue jeans she had and the sweater with deer on it. Then he crossed over too and there was room to breathe, the path widened and went up and up in stages. There were wooden steps here and there that made it easier.

I wonder what she's up to now, Loveta's mother said to herself, I wonder.

She saw the Camaro pulled over somewhere by a beach, the one at Middle Cove. She saw the welder boy lean over the gearshift and turn his head to the right and she saw Loveta hunker down a bit and close her eyes. Then Loveta's mother turned her mind from that possibility and, instead, she saw them walk along the beach, not even touching. Then they jumped out of the way of a big wave that surprised them both with the strength it had. Loveta got a soaker, it went right through her jeans past her waist. That was a close call. The welder came over and acted real protective, he wrapped his arms around Loveta but what did he really want? A dog ran by after a stick and there was a picnic and there were lots of people there at Middle Cove.

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