Monday, March 21, 2011

Chapter- "Pit Stops"

Stop 5: Bar Stools & the White Haze

He got a whiskey. I got a beer. Then I got my period. It was just barely 11am and we were 75 miles from anywhere that would even have a gas station. But, “luckily” for us, we were flying along highway 2, in the middle of the woods and happened to see what may have at one point in time resembled a bar. I pulled over in the snowy gravel. Upon closer inspection, we decided that yes, it was in fact a bar, and yes, it was in fact open. He had to pee and I was bitchy and bloaty, so we braved it.

His whiskey neat was not neat and my beer was not cold. It was the price we had to pay for not relieving ourselves before we left, or for drinking too much coffee. Either way, we were choking down gross drinks at 11am in the middle of Shitville. To add insult to injury, the bartender (who we decided was probably a woman) kept staring at me and the couple on the other end of the bar was blabbering incessantly about their diabetic dog. I decided that it was no wonder why these people are willingly at a bar at this hour. I accidentally might have given them one of my trademark bitch glances that insinuated something like “Just put that fucking dog out of its misery.” I needed some Advil. But, my snotty sarcasm is rarely the side effect of cramps. A pill could never fix my attitude. My companion gave me a small smile that said just that. He touched my knee and kissed my cheek. He loved me.

We finished our drinks, because Midwesterners always finish their drinks. Even if they are not very good.

I wasn't able to define my feelings on this journey. I was taking him to the airport again. Part of my soul was feeling an elated sense of relief and the other part was a teary, female mess. I tried to blame the latter on my monthly hormonal charade. But, I knew it wasn't the reason, and that led me to feel even more confused. And, subsequently,pissy. He just stared at me as I drove, eyes sparkling. I looked at the road.

I drove. I was just a little lightheaded from the late-morning dosage of pain reliever and beer. I imagined what it would be like when I would return to my apartment without him. I would smile. I would light a few candles. Pour a glass of wine. Revel in the orgasmic solitude. The lack of commitment. The lack of dinner. The lack of companionship. I would lay in the cold,barren sheets. I would realize that I had done it again, and I would let my tears soak into my skin, let them in deeper than I would ever let anyone.

I swerved to miss a lone doe and snapped back into the essence of the car and our trip and the story he was telling me about someone he knew in Los Angeles. I loved to hear his voice. But, my mind was slipping back into the white haze of letting go. I held back my tears, but I knew he could see them dancing near my eyelashes. He had always loved my long eyelashes.

Stop 1: Machine Guns In the Dark
The snowfall was torrential. I was used to these sorts of Northern blizzards. The long, frozen treks through the woods. Coasting along one of only two roads that led to my home. The home I had not wanted or asked for. But, I had come to care for it and so had adopted it. For a time.

The yellow lines of the highway had long since been buried under the packed, white precipitation. It was a pitch black night and I could see the ominous, glowing saucers of animal eyes on either side of the disappearing path. I pretended that I was playing a video game- lighting a cigarette and blasting the panicked, electronic beats of Crystal Castles. I would dodge the rabid zombie- deer and slip and swerve on the haunted ice road. It would be okay. I would make it home to my hot tea and fireplace and Fitzgerald,my own wild beast.

It was the first of many times that I would bring this Lost Boy into my Lost World. Into the woods, into the snow, into my bed, into my organized mess of an existence. The night was cold and dark and exciting and secretive. We had fled the city like two misunderstood refugees. Away from our families and churches and highschool crushes and chain stores and dangerous parties and street signs and engagement rings and missed opportunities- away from our previously known realities. And all we could see around us was white encased in black.

We saw them like two pillars of hope in the distance. Faint globes, but growing more yellow and warm with each spin of the tires. Far north, near the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there was a haven in the storm. Though time and distance had swirled away from me in the snowflakes,I realized where we finally were. It was the legendary mafia hide-away, turned crime scene of decades passed. Well, if you want to put it glamorously, that's what it was. It had become a tourist attraction for elderly people who genuinely remembered the name of Johnny Dillinger- and not the imposter Johnny from the movies. But, it was open, albeit empty aside from a few dedicated employees, and we were in need of a place to stop and hide from the raging blizzard. And we needed a drink. Pronto.

Ours was the only vehicle to be seen. We stood in the parking lot, near the edge of the woods. In the light of the lamps and the neon beer signs, he held me close. The snow and wind flew around us, but he kept me in the lining of his coat and I felt small and safe. Before I realized that the cold had grabbed me again, he had taken off. He ran quickly and madly into the woods. I could hear his laugh, and I knew that he could hear mine echoing back. We chased eachother with invisible machine guns until we were snow-soaked and frozen and another inch of snow covered the car.

We walked in through the large, wooden doors, wet and rosy-cheeked. In the reflection of pieced- together shattered glass, we realized how young we looked. We made our way to the bar and began to drink in that romantic room and gazed with glazed eyes at the preserved bullet holes in the walls, and Johhny Depp t-shirts. We smiled in the glow of the roaring fire as we roared with laughter.

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