Friday, May 20, 2011
Wanderlust part 65 "Exactly"
Here we are rocketing toward our destination, dear readers. I have to say, I will miss doing this. I also have to say, I doubt this will be my last serial novel. I've had too much fine waking up to Johnny and Really and you all every morning.
Good stuff, good stuff. And we still have a few days left. So buckle up...
by Sommer Marsden
I made my mind up outside a diner in Las Vegas. Johnny was finishing up another of his atrocious sandwiches. This one was called a Monte Cristo and I had though the Reuben was bad.
“I have to do something,” I said.
“It’s not leave, is it? Because that would really ruin this love buzz thing I’ve got going.” He said it as a joke but there was a small flicker of fear in his eyes.
We were both so beat to shit by emotions that the slightest hesitation from either of us provoked anxiety. He had sworn to never love again and I had sworn I’d never love at all. I was pretty sure, though—with time—we’d get over it.
“Nope. Much worse than tearing myself away from you.” I leaned across the table quickly and kissed him. I wanted him alone and naked and vulnerable again. But for now I relished watching him eat like he hadn’t eaten in a year.
“Calling the old man, then?”
“Listen, we are dangerously low on funds. We might be drifting to our final destination on fumes.”
“We’ll make it,” I said, because I truly felt in my gut that we would.
I used the pay phone on the side of the building, studying the graffiti that said Yesh and Kuntlikker and wondered why they couldn’t at least spell the words right. Maybe I was getting old.
“Mason Blake.” I had dialed his cell and not the front desk.
Silence. And then, “How much do you need?”
“I don’t need anything,” I said. “I called to say goodbye.”
“Still with your waiter?”
“Does it matter?”
“Listen, Aurelia, I know losing your mother upset you. But you can come back whenever you like. To this life. No grudges held.”
“No thanks. I’m fine. I just wanted to say goodbye. More for me, than for you,” I said.
I was surprised at my calm, but then again, not much. Johnny had helped me remold a lot of what used to live inside of me. A lot of my ugliness had turned to beauty. Mildly twisted beauty—but still…it was beauty.
“Jackson is filing for divorce, you know.” His voice had become clipped now that he realized he was not going to win. That I would not come crawling back.
“Good. Tell him I’ll check in periodically and let him know where to send the papers.”
“No he’s not. He’s realizing he’s relieved. And you know, daddy, you really should keep him on and treat him well. He’s more of a son to you than I’ve ever been a daughter. And he’s loyal to you. I don’t know how me manages that, but he is. He deserves to be treated as a son.”
“Just come back and stop this nonsense, Really.”
He rarely used my nickname and that, too, was a ploy.
“Nope. But I’ll call soon. I’ll be fine. Not that you were worried.”
Beyond how it affects you…
“Aurelia, you still have money. I won’t put a hold on the account if you—“ He was bluffing. That money was mine.
“I don’t think so. That money costs too much. Take care, daddy,” I said and gently hung up.
I was finally ready to see that once my mother died, my family ties had been severed. The only family I would have now was the one I created for myself.
I turned fast and walked into a wall of man. “You okay, Snowflake?”
I smiled at him. “I am great.”
And then we were leaving Las Vegas and barreling toward our destination. The sky was blue and balmier than the weather we had left.
We hit the California border and I stared at that blue sign like it was a spaceship.
“Wow?” He raised an eyebrow.
“It was just an idea before,” I said.
“Now it’s reality.”
“It is. And us…”
“We lied and lied and lied. Right?”
I grinned. “Yes, we did lie, didn’t we?”
“We’ll be okay,” he said as if he could see that vein of uncertainty that lived in my head. That little rivulet of fear that always entwined itself into my thoughts.
“We’ll have to work.”
“I can work. Fuck, I look forward to work. And don’t laugh at me.” I stared ahead watching the blacktop river of road ahead of us. The yellow dotted lines looked as if they were leading us straight to our futures.
“I would never laugh at you. I’m itching to work some myself. Something with my hands. Dirt and sweat, out in the sun,” he said laughing.
“Are we going to stop once more or just go?”
“We’re going to just go. I have a place I’d like to show you. But we might not be there until dark.”
“Since when did we not do things in the dark?” I asked.
“Exactly.” Johnny winked at me and I felt my body warm. It was like being in on the best inside joke ever.
I turned the radio on and put my head back to watch it all come rushing at me.
I have waited a lifetime. Spent my time so foolishly. But now that I’ve found you. Together we’ll make history…
“Turn it up,” Johnny said. His eyes straight ahead but the rest of him relaxed. More relaxed than I’d ever seen him.
“Exactly,” I said echoing him—laughing at the whole burst of happiness I felt—and then I cranked it.