Posted on October 14, 2014 by Patricia Ann McNair10.14.2014 Journal Prompt Photo by William Eggleston October 14, 2014: She traveled alone. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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She travels alone and she’s always travellin. Not like she’s runnin away from somethin. It ain’t like that. She keeps to the same roads, just goin round and round, like a moth on a dark and moonless night and it turns in circles round a lit lantern or porch light, turnin and turnin.
I know when she’s in town. I sorta expect it. I get a feelin inside and I just know to look for her car in the parkin lot outside the Red Eye Motel. It’s a pink Cadillac and you can’t miss it. It’s done a few miles and it’s lookin a bit beat up these days, but she don’t never think of changin it, and she parks as near to the Motel door as she can.
We have an arrangement of sorts. Nothin said, exactly, but she sits at the Motel bar around six and I like to think she’s waitin for me. I make an effort to look nice – I press the creases from a clean shirt and I put a spit and polish shine to my shoes – my daddy taught me how to do that when I was just a slip of a boy. And I comb my hair so it looks like Elvis’ and I spray on aftershave that stings at first.
She sits starin at a glass of bourbon, like she’s pluckin up the courage to take it back in one. She’s dressed nice, everythin out of a suitcase that she keeps in the back of her trunk, but nice all the same. I order myself a beer – long and cool and clean – and I just sit down on the stool next to her, close enough my arm touches hers. And, like I say, it feels like its an arrangement we have – she just starts talkin then, tellin me about how she’s spent her time since last she was in town.
It’s been maybe a month and there’s lots to tell and at the same time I reckon I’ve mostly heard it all before. Once a month she comes to town and we’ve been doin this for more than ten years. She’s still pretty, if you close your eyes a little and look at her through a blur. She talks for maybe an hour, about people she’s met and things she’s seen – lightnin striking the top of a church only forty miles from where we’re sittin and the bell fallin to the ground and ringin like a crazy thing, or the lump of a dead cow layed down in the middle of the road and a naked girl, maybe five or six, sittin weepin over that cow and punchin it in the ribs every now and then like it could still stand and walk off the road if she punched it hard ‘nough. Maybe an hour like that, stories with no point to ‘em, and she don’t hardly stop for breath. Then, when she’s all talked out, she takes up her glass of bourbon and knocks it back.
I reach for her hand then and we go to her room. It’s always the same room, one with a view of the trees out back. We don’t switch the light on and we don’t close the curtains. All we do is undress and lie naked on the bed, our arms touchin and maybe our legs, too. And our heads propped up by the extra motel pillows so we can look out at the night. Outside, the moon is sometimes visible, sickle or full. I tell her how I’ve missed her, how I think of her near every day, just when it’s dark and I’m undressin for bed. She says she thinks of me, too, but I don’t reckon she does.
Used to be we’d be at it like jackrabbits straight away; now we take our time. We’ve got the whole night to fill and it’s got to be somethin we can hang onto till she’s next in town. Her skin is sometimes all silvered and pale, like she’s lit up from the inside, and I wonder those times if she’s the circlin moth or if it’s me. I don’t never ask her to stay – it never feels right to. She likes travelin – the goin away and the comin back. And if truth be told, I kinda like it too.