A Random Image
 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || September 16, 2004 || 6:10 pm

Of a Leaf

In a time of falling, we had attempted to climb; separate trunks to be sure, yet we both reached the canopy of Twilight’s arbor in time for it’s purple tinted fading light to draw from dark sources and shake us loose, leaves falling from a shuddering tree.

At a truck stop in Kansas, she approached me, her arm brushed the back of my hand so softly I still believe I imagined it, a sensation scryed from a cauldron of loneliness and loss. I was smoking at the edge of a pasture, considering the deep ruts cut into the earth and the historical marker that claimed these were left by thousands upon thousands of Conestoga wagons, persistent in Westward belief. I left only bits of rubber from motorcycle tires, perhaps a drop of oil now and then, all of it waiting to be washed away with the coming of the next rain.

“I’m trying to get home,” she announced.

Her face was a latticework of tears and eyeliner. There was a sweet face beneath it, shaking softly above a skinny neck. Dark circles, sobs, and a manner of dress combined to suggest a narrative well enough for me to know there was little point in asking.

“Look, I can give you what you…”

I turned to face her fully and cut her off. “That isn’t an offer I’m prepared to entertain. How old are you? No. Don’t. It’ll go better if you don’t tell me. Do you have any jeans in your pack? You can’t ride in that skirt.”

“Why?”

“It is too damned short. As soon as a trooper sees your panties from a distance of seven miles away, I’ll get to explain why I’ve got a teenage runaway sitting bitch on my bike. I’m a bit old for them to think we’re high school sweethearts.”

“I’ll tell them you’re a retard who got left back.”

“I’m starting to believe that myself.”

She cleaned up in the restroom and when she returned, we picked out some jeans and a sweatshirt with the Wicked Witch of the West on it. Outside, I gave her my helmet and jacket, kicked over the Norton and told her to hold on and we entered the rippling heat of that Kansas noon. She yelled her story into my ear for hours. I only gleaned a fraction of it. I didn’t matter. I knew in my heart what she had been through. While it might have helped her to elaborate, it would do little to flesh out an understanding that was already ripe.

We crossed the Wyoming border, exhausted and under a full, disapproving Cheyenne moon. Fishing in our pockets, we came up with enough for a room and a pizza. We flopped upon our respectable separate beds and watched a weatherman gesture at a blurry map with a pointer topped by a turkey head. I don’t recall falling asleep.

I woke, feeling her climb into bed with me, sobbing violently, half asleep.

“I’m so cold,” was all I understood her to say.

I pulled her close and held her, rocking her softly. As her breathing eased, I heard her story in detail. I pulled my face away from her, slightly, so she wouldn’t feel my tears. She was me. I wanted to die knowing that she knew what I knew.

“Maybe going home isn’t such a good idea. Maybe we can figure out someplace else for you.”

“He’s gone, now,” she whispered.

She rocked herself back into me and reached back to touch my face.

“No. We’re friends. I’m not here for that.”

“But I owe you.”

“No, hon. Now you owe someone else. Someone you don’t know yet.”

She drifted off, shuddering in her sleep; her leaf still falling. I cried until morning knowing that the wind blew too strongly, she bobbed upon its current. I would never catch her. I could never catch any of them. No one could catch me.

“Try to ride the wind to the tall, soft grass, to the field bisected with the grooves of hope and promise,” I whispered in the tiny ear then kissed. She rolled over.

“Change your mind?” she paused, leaving me suspended. “I’m kidding. And I’ll try, okay?”


V. suspects he shouldn’t be here, but should have stayed on his inglorious black cloud instead. He lives in Virginia and writes travel articles that are primarily internal monologues about his inability to relate to others.

3 worked it out »

  1. Nina 9.16.2004

    I’m glad you didn’t stay on your inglorious black cloud over there. Thanks for the tale.

     
  2. V. 9.17.2004

    Thank you, Nina. And my apologies for the line breaks. They looked well enough in the preview panel.

    Then again, Blogger has always had it in for me.

     
  3. Nina 9.17.2004

    You’re welcome! I don’t see any line breaks. Looks perfectly normal to me. Well, like I’d know perfectly normal….

     

RSS feed for comments on this post.

(you know you want to)