The point is Pop knew both of these things.
A place where people come to burn cars, a place where abandoned dogs eat sand or each other, these are not comforting facts.
But that did not matter to Pop.
What mattered was tradition, albeit a tradition starting with me and Lily. "This is your legacy", he shouted at us from inside the car.
"Your rite of passage.If you make it you will be men.
If you don’t I’ll lickety-split a prayer for each of you come Sunday". Then he peeled out, left us coughing in his dust.
Lily said, Don’t he know we’re girls?
"How are we supposed to become men then?"
It didn’t take long for Lily to start crying.
Some book she read described how an orange sun is the deadliest, how letting its rays coat your skin is akin to taking a lye shower, how the orange was from God’s bloody iris,
when I asked her if that meant the sun was God’s eye
and if so was he a Cyclops she slapped her own face, said she had itches under the skin, it was the orange rays coming for her.
She took off running.
I let her. In the flat desert I knew I could see her for miles.