She is talking about leaving Williams Freight. She is in love with a married man who just promised her the moon, in so many words, and she is ready to accept.

I pull my t-shirt away from damp skin. It is late-August and humid, and we are in south Alabama. We sit on the trunk of my mother’s car, the oxidized gray paint no longer slippery.

“Why don’t you just talk to Jack?” I ask, knowing she won’t.

If I allowed myself to smoke around her, this is when I’d take a long drag and stare at nothing, then tap ashes.

“He is just so stubborn,” she says. “He doesn’t understand what it’s been like for me since Henry died.”

Henry was Jack’s father and my mother’s boss. Now Jack is the boss.

Other cars are pulling into the lot. My mother props her bent leg more fetchingly, straightens her back, twists her ruby ring, as if those arriving have come to watch her escape behind the clouds and emerge from behind the earth’s shadow.

I watch the sky, imagining the smoke rings I could blow.

“When did the news people say it would happen?” I ask, knowing she won’t know the answer.

“I think 11:30,” she says. She doesn’t know.

The clouds roll over the moon. It is waiting to be eclipsed.