There we were, shoveling coal in western Montana, the fact of its rurality self-evident. She, striking in boots, jeans, orange vest and matching hard hat, her long, straight black hair running superlatively past her shoulders and resting mostly on the tips of her scapulas, some across her perfectly shaped breasts. Lift a shovel, drop it in the barrow, a sentence forms in the gray matter, moves across synapses, under the lungs, through the vocal chords, around the tongue, out of the mouth and into the air. One pile of black dirt dropped, one phrase passed across.
Big Feet Come First, as you could guess by her name, is a miraculous creature even in that she survived her grand entrance into the world to begin with. And from henceforth, every man who has laid their eyes across her features has prayed a silent prayer of thanks to the Creator for seeing fit that she lived for him to see her. She was born on the Crow reservation to the southeast, of a full-blooded father and a distantly half-french mother. Her eyes sparkled as she spade her pile of coal with ease, sweat never dripping from her skin but providing a constant sheen never so authentically produced on a photography set.
She has never been mocked for her name. No man would think to. No woman would dare to. “Feet” became the standard, as natural as Mary or Jane.
Her shovel rotated above the dirty tureen and said, “So you don’t have plans for after this?”
I considered her clarifying question for a second, hefting a load through the air, “No. Haven’t thought much beyond tomorrow, truth be told.”
A silent rotation, the shush-shush of falling dirt the only conversation of our unspoken thoughts.
“Well, I’m going to beauty school.”
“Oh yeah?” my mouth spoke, and my mind continued, “Jesus-h-christ-right you are, you’re practically on the cover of the textbooks. You’re next to the dictionary entry for the word. People become beautiful just standing next to you. You are a walking beauty school.”
My out-loud voice picked it up again, “Where’s that at?”
“California,” her gloved hand said, swallowing her perfect arm in its wide mouth, “this school called Stanford. Just opened.”
“Oh yeah?” my subconscious cursed my conscience for having no more intelligent things to say. “That’s cool.”
“Yeah. I can’t wait.”
And I imagined Feet taking over the world, from Montana to California and then back again, except zooming right on past here, going all the way around, leaving creation in her wake.