First, there was a dream of the Salton Sea, its fishy shores and trailer parks. I learned of Slab City in ruins, a settlement for artists and junkies.
I notice a wall of perfumes behind the counter on the shelves that used to hold cigarettes. They say scent is the strongest trigger of memory, but I don’t need to open the boxes to be transported.
It was said that those who’d been there and received a ticket with a number, or maybe they selected a ticket from a deep bowl, or perhaps they heard a number read from a ticket and raised their arms with fierce intensity to claim it, received their true number at the event. Those people came away with answered prayers.
The headlights were too low to be Ryder’s aging Silverado. I did not have other family left, or many friends in town, and none would have visited at this hour.
We speak of this fantasy when he is not too groggy from the morphine. In these times of clarity, my love for him forms bone and muscle.
They gorge on mosquitoes and butterflies, a glut that cupcakes and roasted beef cannot satisfy. Mosquitos: a bloody morsel. Butterflies: how thrilling to make a meal of such gentle beauty.
At that point, we expected locked doors, staff with keys, and intricate systems of levels and points that determined our value, our movements, our freedoms.
The Onion Van was parked adjacent to a road leading deep into the forest, quite possibly the very primrose path that carries people to places miles from where anyone can hear them scream.
“Hello,” the very small girl whispered to the pup as she settled into her seat. “My name is Tillie. Your name is Levi, and you are mine.”
I couldn’t drop this in Sawyer’s lap. He couldn’t know there was any more trouble than driving into town when the well ran dry.
That summer, the brilliant bursts of muzzle flash replaced the on off, on off, on off of fireflies. With our fingers in our ears, it was beautiful in the dark.
I spent a few moments gauging everyday items that were wider than this walkway; my dog, my laptop, a submarine sandwich placed sideways, a yoga mat, most table games except for Uno, and me.
The boy held two fingers sideways, squinting toward the horizon. “Thirty minutes,” he silently mouthed to himself, dropping his hand.