Due to some 'technical difficulties' in RL at the mo', I am not making any promises regarding posting this week. I will do my damndest to keep current, obviously but there might be radio silence here and there. Not to mention, at this point in our journey we are approaching our destination (well over 70K!) so things are a bit trickier at this end of the road trip than the beginning.
Good morning :)
by Sommer Marsden
We were standing under the giant statue of a jackalope in Jackalope Square, admiring its horns. There was a chilly wind and an ache in my chest. We had joked and flirted and pussy-footed around our emotion all the way to Douglas, Wyoming. I had no idea what time it was, but it was late. Or early.
“It is big,” Johnny agreed.
A sign on the way into town had read “Have a blessed Thanksgiving.”
How has it gotten to be Thanksgiving? How had the days slipped by so fast? It was tomorrow and at one point I had looked forward to it, now I felt nervous. What did I say? What did I do? There was an elephant in the room and we both knew it. Hell, even the jackalope knew it.
We circled the mythical creature as if it was going to speak to us. Maybe the made-up animal version of the magic eight ball. We kept each other on opposite sides as we moved.
This was stupid.
At one point in our ride I had stooped to singing along with Eddie Rabbit to fill the silence. Oh I love a rainy night, I love a rainy night, love to feel the rain on my face… I caught him alternately laughing softly and shaking his head.
I just wanted the time to zip past like mist until we felt okay again. Until we didn’t have to act this way.
We met on the backside of the statue, stood toe-to-toe and stared. I cleared my throat. And Johnny, being Johnny, waited. As silent and mysterious as the Sphinx.
“About—“ I froze up.
I was going to say, about that moment we had. About what I was thinking. I told my friend so I should have the balls to tell you, I think Iove you…
I was a grown-up. I should be able to do that. Right? I could add the word “think” in there instead of just I love you to save face and make myself better. But at my age, at my stage of life, in my innate state of fuck-up-ed-ness, I should be able to do that.
Instead, I finished with “…time we saw something other than road.”
He smiled. A small unreadable smile. “Yeah. I guess so.” He touched my lip and then put his hands in his pockets.
I felt the absence of his touch as surely as I had felt the initial pressure of his finger on my skin.
I blinked. Waited. And Johnny—damn him—said nothing.
He watched me.
I shut my eyes and pushed my head back, face to the sky as if it could offer me some advice.
Speak up. Turn and walk away. Kick him in the shin. Beg him to talk. Cry and freak him out. Scream and freak him out. Go find some candy…any of these options would have offered some relief from this…strangeness.
Instead, I cheated. I reached up and cupped his face in my hands, letting my fingers rustle against his stubble. I traced his nose and his scar and then his lips. I touched each thing with a firm but gentle touch and then I stood on tiptoe and kissed him.
He didn’t resist me. I don’t’ know why I had been expecting him to. I just had. But he didn’t do that, he leaned in and took my kiss. Parted his lips and let his tongue play over mine. When I stepped into his space he put his hands on my hips and held me.
This was good. This felt normal. This was not awkward. We were always good when we were fucking around. Always good even when we were bad or sad or angry.
His fingers splayed on my waist, one finger worming under my shirt where my top met my waistband. His skin was warm, his tongue sweet.
I pulled back to look him in the eye and said, “You ever fucked under a giant cartoon creature before?”
We could get arrested. Hell, this place was so open we probably would get arrested. But I didn't care because at that instant in time I did not feel like I wanted to tear my hair out with frustration or weep from feeling and odd sizzling energy between us.
I felt calm and peaceful and relaxed. We would have sex and there would be orgasms and we could move past this.
He pushed me one step back. Not hard. Not mean. Just forceful. “Nope. And I don’t intend to.”
I cocked my head as if I had an earful of water. Maybe I had heard him wrong. Had he just said…no?
“What? Why? What’s wrong?” The three W’s rolled off my tongue in a heartbeat. I had never truly heard myself sound desperate before but I heard it then. I fired the questions off, hoping to put them behind us fast and commence with the coupling.
“Because I think we shouldn’t.”
“I—“ I blew out a sigh and stared at my sneakers. “I don’t’ get it. Why?”
He tugged the end of my hair in swift little yanks until I looked up at him. Looked him in the eye. “Because sometimes it’s about what you don’t do and not what you do.”
“You heard me.”
“You don’t…want me?”
“But you won’t fuck me?”
“Because I can’t. Not until we put this to rest.”
“You tell me?” He tugged my hair again and a rabid urge to punch him in the neck came over me. So forceful I had to fist my hands at my sides.
Was he fucking with me? Was this a goddamn joke?
“You tell me,” I mocked. “What the fuck does that mean?”
“It means…sometime when you give two shits about someone…” He put his fingers under my chin and forced me to look at him. I tried to snap my head away but he held me firm with just two fingers. “…sometimes that means saying no. Taking away all safety nets and escape hatches.”
“What about you? Do you have any feelings you’d like to share?”
His eyes darted away.
Oh so this was it. He wanted me to tell how I felt while he stood by aloof and accepting. He wanted me to sweat and bleed and bare my soul.
“You told me that you couldn’t feel anything for me. Not for real. You told me you were no good at monogamy and all that.”
“I did say that.”
“And?” he echoed.
“Has that changed, Johnny?”
He looked up, down, at the statue. Anywhere but me.
This was the granddaddy of all pissing contests and if I weren’t so hurt and angry and confused, I would have laughed. It was that fucking ridiculous.
“I guess not,” he said.
I snorted. “Are we done here?”
“I guess we are.”
We hit the road, the awkward tone having shifted to silent anger and hurt.
The sky was starting to lighten when we checked into our hotel. A two-level cinder block monstrosity. I tromped up the stairs behind Johnny, watching his ass in his jeans, wishing I felt anything but uneasy anger. Lust would work.
Half way up I said, “You know it’s Thanksgiving already.”
“I know, Really,” he said. He sounded exasperated.
“Right,” I growled. “Well, this is fucking festive.”