Saturday, May 7, 2011
Wanderlust part 53 "Maybe it would stay"
Morning, all. Boy howdy! It was busy on the internet when I slept. I woke to an enormous amount of emails, messages, and all kinds of good stuff. CJ even said Grazie to me! Did you know I am trying to learn Italian? Erm...that is Italian right? ;)
Anyway, this was ready and I have no patience, so here is part 53. Tomorrow I will probably be posting but not part of Wanderlust. I take Sundays off if I can. So for the saga of Johnny and Really, we'll meet back here Monday.
Off to a party in a few hours. But first I need to try and make myself pretty. Eesh. I might need a few hours.
by Sommer Marsden
He hadn’t said he loved me. Fuck, I hadn’t said I loved him. But it hung here. We were locked eye to eye and my body was betraying me. A fine tremor that I could not control ran through me like an electrical current.
“You okay, Really?” he asked.
His eyes said he knew the reason for my turmoil. But he wasn’t going to say it. We were going to pretend. For now—maybe for always—we were going to pretend that that very big, very inconvenient emotion wasn’t there.
I did not have room to love him. Not really. And he didn’t have the ability to love me, either. He’d made that clear from the get-go and reinforced it in various ways—some okay, some painful. And wasn’t that what this was all about? Two people so gnarled and mangled by life trying to just…go. Be. Exist. Without strings of sticky connections.
Love was a string.
Love was a sticky connection.
I stood, my thighs shaking so hard they wanted to smack together like I was the one recovering from the flu.
“I’m fine,” I said, giving him my hand. “Let’s get you clean for real. The patient needs a scrub down.” I forced amusement into my voice.
“I think the patient just had the best dose of medicine ever,” he said. He kissed my neck and I could breathe again. He was going to play along. We were going to let it go.
I turned the water back on and we stepped in to finish up that shower. He touched me. I touched him. But for the rest of the shower, neither of us looked each other in the eye.
It hurt my chest some, the way it was in this awkward moment. But it was better this way.
“Food.” He chomped into the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen.
“That is not food.”
“This is the food of the gods. I am a god,” he grunted, winking at me.
“The god of sweating and high fevers.”
“You got it, sister. I can’t help it if I emanate an overwhelming heat. I am just that sexy.”
I laughed so hard I choked on a fry. We were at the end of Nebraska. I couldn’t’ wait to leave. Given my druthers it would have a giant EXIT sign in neon. And they would release balloons…and doves…when we finally escaped.
Nebraska had been rocky.
I chewed my salad and watched him. The stubble on his head was driving me nuts. I should have shaved it. I was half eager to see him with hair and half eager to get it smooth and supple again. He caught me, those insanely blue eyes full of amusement.
“I’m not growing it,” he said.
He cocked his head. “Interesting.”
“What? That you call that thing food?”
“This, child, is a Reuben. It is the most decadent, wonderful, scrumptious sandwich ever invented. And it will help me get my strength back.”
“That is cheese and fat and some pink stuff and…”I shivered and it was genuine. “Sauer Kraut.”
“Mmm.” He took a huge bite and chewed with relish just for me.
“Eeew,” I countered. I had ordered a grilled chicken salad. I needed vegetables. I needed crunch. I needed something light because after our encounter in the bathroom, I felt damn near nauseous with nervousness.
He loved me. I knew this. And fear throbbed inside of me. It could never go well. It was the calm before the storm. It was the lucky bastard who won the lottery only to be destitute a year later. Good things, like love and true affection and all that sappy shit, simply never worked out. Not for the long haul.
Maybe if I pretended that it was just fucking—platonic, fun, just-for-shits-and-giggles-fucking, the Universe would let me have it. Let me keep it. The deal being that I could never name it or express it or look at it for more than a very quick glimpse. And then I must look away and pretend it wasn’t there.
“So what’s next?” I hurried on. Because he was staring at me and it felt like he was reading my soul like a pamphlet.
He looked up at the ceiling then said, “Ah, Wyoming.”
“And what, pray tell, is in Wyoming?”
“Jackalopes for one.”
“Jackehwhats?” I laughed. But I was actually recalling a favorite teacher telling us about Jackalopes once upon a time.
“Part Jackrabbit, part antelope. All fast.”
“Hmm. Maybe we’ll see one.”
“Mayhaps, we will,” he said, tipping an invisible cowboy hat.
“You’re in good mood,” I observed.
“I have to tell you, being upright, lucid, full of food and not feeling like I got hit with a thunderbolt is giving me good vibrations.”
“I can imagine. So we’re jackalope hunting.”
“Hey, better than snipe hunting.”
“True. Did you know…” It was coming back to me now. “That they even sell jackalope hunting permits in one town.” How long ago had that class been? And who had that teacher been, for that matter?
“Yep,” Our waitress said. She had appeared out of nowhere. “In Douglas. You have to have an IQ of more than 50 but less than 72 to get one. And the season is only two hours per year.” She gave a short laugh. Her eyes were the color of whiskey. She looked tired.
I laughed. “Wow. More than 50 and less than 72.” I shook my head.
“Yep. Tried to get my ex one for his birthday. Seemed like the perfect gift for him. That dumb ass.” She shrugged, set our bill down and sauntered off.
Johnny watched her go as I fished a twenty out of my change purse. “That is one angry waitress.”
“True story. Maybe we should veer off the main road a bit for this leg,” I said. “See some stuff besides beds, motel rooms, showers and diners.”
“We can do that. There’s a lot of sky in Wyoming,” he said. “If I recall correctly. There is one place I can’t wait for you to see, though.”
“Where’s that?” I patted my change purse repeatedly, like some OCD queen. I was a nervous wreck about stuff like that now. I had to continually tell myself that it was there. It was okay.
It had occurred to me that I could always not use the card but ask Bren to wire me money. She would in a heartbeat. It was nice to know that I had help should I need it. It was there, but bottom line was I didn’t want to use it. Just like I was in love, only I didn’t want to say it.
Because then it might go poof. Like a bit of dandelion fluff or warm steam from a shower on a cold day.
If I just kept quiet, maybe it would stay.