Wayne Martin didn’t tell me how he went to prison until I was almost forty years old. Part of me was afraid of actually knowing rather than trusting the mythology I’d built up around him, but a bigger part was afraid he wouldn’t tell me, that it would remain forever a part of him I couldn’t know. After he told me I immediately called my mother, ready to surprise her with this new bit of information I’d gathered. “Oh, yeah,” she said, giggling. “I remember Candy.” My mother had kept meticulous track of all of Wayne Martin’s girlfriends after he’d gotten her pregnant, and the winter after he’d gone to prison she and her friend Linda ran into Candy at a bar. Candy didn’t know who my mother was, and my mother and Linda bought her drinks until she was thoroughly soused. They then offered her a ride home. On the ride home, with Candy passed out in the backseat, they took a detour and drove ten miles outside of town. They steered off the road, into a frozen field, and parked. Then they pulled Candy out of the backseat, laid her down in the middle of the field between broken cornrows, and drove back to town. “That,” my mother said, “was the last I heard of Candy.”

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AuthorJohn Proctor