She lifted her left leg out of the car carefully. The skin on her thighs had stuck to the leather seat in the old beat-up car her father swore was a good deal. It was, he was right. He was always right.
She slowly lifted her right leg and stood up. The air conditioning in that tiny car hadn’t worked for a week but she wasn’t bothered enough to fix it. No, the windows did just fine. She was able to let her hand feel the breeze, much like her younger self. Hand out side of her parents station wagon, a giant plane taking the same road they did… if she squinted and imagined hard enough.
She made the journey down the path to the old farm house and reached the old screened door. The house had seen better days. She placed her hand on the metal door handle and stood. The moment was lost. She should have phoned to say she was coming. She used to just walk right in. Judgement got the best of her.
She knocked, instead, on the door of the house she grew up in. Waiting for her mother she hadn’t seen in fifteen years.
I carried my luggage to the car. I did a quick look in the car window to make sure I looked okay. Froofed my hair just a bit.
I glanced back at you, starring, smiling. You must have watched me. Your ear to ear grin said it all.
I knew I’d be back soon, but it it tinged knowing I have to leave in this moment.
“Mr. Johnson, we have some news for you regarding your son.”
“What news could you possibly tell me?”
“Well we found his body sir.”
“I know where his body is. The patrol told me about that three years ago.”
“Uh there’s a, there’s been a development.”
“He went to Mount Everest. They said he went off the trail.”
“Another climber, uh.. found him, sir.”
“Okay. Thanks. You going to give me coordinates or something? I don’t know how many times I’ve been told its too dangerous to go get him.”
“No, Mr. Johnson.”
“Then what the hell you calling me for?”
“The other climber, sir.”
“Did he survive? Good for him. Can I go now?”
“He did survive, thanks to your son.”
“He ran out of supplies.”
“Then what could this climber possibly have taken?”
“Well Mr. Johnson. The climber…he… he ate your son.”
One hundred people filed into the long hallway. I looked around me and most of them were men, working men of all ages. There were a few older women, even fewer children. But none were my age.
We packed in like sardines and a loud buzzer went off. A cloud of smoke filled the room and they all began to cough, I tried holding my breath and covering my mouth, but the smoke entered my lungs anyway. A couple men dropped to the floor immediately, they must have been infected. Another buzzer went off and we were led down another hallway.
We reached a waiting room, much that of an old hospital emergency room. In fact, that must have been what this building was, years ago. Everyone slammed against the the open window, where three women were at computer screens. They instructed us to tell them our symptoms, their computers would recognize our voice and record for our files. Another man dropped to the floor while a few of them developed a rash on their necks. Most of the children cried.
After all the pushing and shoving I finally made it to the window. I had to tell the truth, I needed to get out of here. “I feel fine. No symptoms.”
The lady looked at me over the glasses on her nose. “That’s impossible, sweetie. Come back in a few minutes and let me know how you feel then.”
“God… Damn. What do you want now?” A young man in his mid twenties appeared in a doorway. A woman, roughly the same age, was slumped over the toilet. There was vomit dripping down her chin and her hair was a mess and her mascara ran down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry, Hector.” She managed to get out through the sobs
“Every time you’re upset. Every goddamn time. You know how frustrating that is? I’ve almost lost my job over this. And it’s sure as hell hard to explain disappearing from the bed when I’m with some chick” Hector crossed his arms and looked down at her. He realized, this time she was really upset about something big. “Why are you throwing up, Maddie?”
“He… He came again…” Her sobs grew louder and louder until she hiccuped.
“That asshole from the other apartment?”
“What in the fuck. I told you not to mess around with him anymore.”
She sobbed again. “No, he just bursted in this time.”
“Jesus Crist, Maddie.” Hector left her apartment.
She heard some loud banging down the hall. She didn’t mean for Hector to appear this time. She thought she could handle it on her own like she learned to do with the stress from work. But the guy down the hall must have really hurt her bad this time, she woke up not remembering the night before. More loud banging came from down the hall, accompanied by inlegible yells. When she was fifteen Maddie wished upon a Star that he’d always be around for the bad times, but she didn’t mean it litterally.
A bloodied Hector appeared in the door way. “Alright. He’s taken care of. Let’s get you cleaned up, you can sleep at my place tonight.”
I made a bet with myself the day you told me you didn’t want anything serious.
I knew you’d come around eventually.
And while I promised myself I wouldn’t take anything you did to heart,
that I wouldn’t let my feelings get in the way,
I hid them in a box somewhere anyway.
And then you came around.
Suddenly, it was as if the words you never said appeared in place.
Like home was calling.
Now if only I could find that box,
and come running.
Driving down the interstate and there’s a sign that reads “don’t text and drive” and I look down at my hand. It isn’t a phone that I’m holding. It’s you, fast asleep from too many drinks.
No, you’re not a text. You’re a person. If that isn’t a testament of my love, give me that ticket.