Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1128
The shabby old man sits in a rocking chair drinking whiskey. He exists only in the minds of Eddie and May. May sits on the edge of the bed, staring at the floor. Eddie sits at the table facing May, working resin into his bucking glove. He tosses the glove on the table and insists to May that he is not leaving. She will not look at him. He moves closer to stroke her hair. She squeezes his legs, then pushes him away. May says he smells like he was with another woman. Eddie says it was the horses.
Eddie leaves, disgusted. May screams for him not to go, grabs a pillow, and throws herself on the bed, moaning and moving around on it. Eddie returns, slamming the door. May backs herself into a corner and says she will kill the countess he was with, and then she will kill Eddie. Eddie tells her how many miles he rode to see her. He lowers his eyes and says he misses her neck. Eddied insists he has it all figured out this time, but May does not want to hear it. She says she has her own job and life now. When Eddie seems ready to accept that May wants him to leave, they come together for a long, tender kiss. Then May knees him in the groin. Eddie doubles over and drops to the floor. May goes into the bathroom and slams the door. The old man points to a picture of Barbara Mandrell and claims he is married to her in his mind, and it is important that Eddie understand the difference between being married in his mind and being married in real life.
May comes out of the bathroom carrying a sleek red dress and heels. As she changes into the sexy clothes she says numbly that she hates Eddie. Eddie says he will go. May says he better, since someone is coming over to see her. Eddie wants to know how long this was going on, and then he leaves suddenly. May yells after him and then grabs a suitcase from under the bed and starts packing. When she hears Eddie returning, she shoves it back under the bed and begins brushing her hair. Eddie returns with a shotgun and a bottle of tequila. He takes a long drink from the bottle. May asks Eddie why he always messes her up like this. Eddie says nothing will ever separate them, and May tells him to get out. Eddie goes out the door carrying the shotgun.
May throws herself against the door and weeps. The old man tells a story about when May was a baby and would not stop crying. May crawls slowly to the bed, grabs a pillow, and rocks herself. Suddenly she stops grieving, sits at the table, and takes a long drink of tequila. Eddie returns with steer ropes. They ignore each other. Eddie loops the bedposts and says he does not believe there is any guy coming over.
May says there is no point in trying to impress her because it is all over. She tries to leave, but Eddie drags her, kicking and screaming, back into the room. Headlights shine through the window. May opens the door and sees a woman in a Mercedes-Benz. Just as Eddie slams the door shut and pushes May out of the way, a pistol shot rips through glass outside. May is furious, and she struggles to get away from Eddie, but he rolls on top of her to keep her down on the floor.
The countess blows the windshield out of Eddie’s truck. He wants to keep the lights off or leave, but May will not do either. The old man says he cannot see himself in either one of them, and that it is a good thing that he got out when he did. Eddie insists May will never get rid of him, and May wants to know why she should believe this time is any different from the others. She opens the door and challenges the countess. Instead, her date, Martin, comes crashing in and tackles Eddie, believing he is trying to hurt May. May tells him it is okay since Eddie is her cousin. Eddie says May is lying. May goes into the bathroom.
Eddie tells Martin he and May are half brother and sister. Their father, the old man, fell in love twice but neither family knew about the other until May and Eddie had already met in high school and fallen in love. The old man drinks with Eddie and Martin during the story and comments occasionally on what Eddie is saying. Eddie describes going on a long walk one night with his father that ended up at the house where May and her mother lived. Eddie then realized his father had two lives, and that May was his sister.
May returns to the room, saying she heard every word. May claims Eddie is not telling the whole truth and insists on going to the movies, but Eddie will not let them leave, so May decides to tell Martin the rest of the story. She says she and her mother tracked her missing father down and discovered him eating dinner with his other family, Eddie and his mother. After that incident, the old man disappeared forever. Her mother grieved terribly. May said she was so much in love with Eddie at the time that they were both sick when they could not be together. Her mother begged them not to see each other anymore. She went to Eddie’s mother with the truth. Eddie’s mother shot herself in the head as a result.
The old man protests this version could not possibly happen, but Eddie calmly tells him that his own shotgun is the one his mother used to kill herself. May and Eddie meet and lock gazes. The old man tries to part them, but Eddie and May ignore him. They embrace tenderly. A loud explosion and the sound of shattering glass are heard outside. A gasoline fire burns, and horses scream and gallop away. Martin tells Eddie his horses are loose. Eddie decides to go check on them and tells May he will be back in a minute. May stares at the door as Eddie goes through it, then turns to get the suitcase. Martin asks her if she is going with Eddie. May straightens herself up and stares at Martin. She tells him Eddie already went, and then she leaves the room herself, suitcase in hand, without closing the door. The old man points to an imaginary picture, claiming it is the woman of his dreams and begins to rock slowly in his chair.
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