Posts Tagged ‘car’

I visited Gen in her half asleep Carolina town and as many times as I could flick her ear while she cooked some down home sweet potatoes for me, or woke up to tea already made and house slippers she let me borrow lined up next to the bed, as many times as I half saw her in a fog of semi-consciousness in an early morning getting her shirt on for work as I fell back to sleep, I couldn’t help but to be anxious to get back to New York.  

The night I left, she opened a bottle of wine and we talked until we lost track of time and ran to the car, and she stick shifted us however fast she could to the train station.

We pulled up just as the train 10:55 train was pulling out.

“You ever been to Richmond?” she asked.

“My roommate said it was terrible.”

“With any luck, we won’t be there long,” and she sped off down late night roads, brights on saying You can’t miss this one, right?  

She went 90 for 180 miles in a 1989 Ford Tempo with no rear view mirror racing north parallel to the tracks.  

“It’s got a next stop, right?”

“No idea.”

We got there as the same 10:55 train was pulling in, I jumped out, grabbed my bag from the back, started running.  She grabbed my hand, pulled me over and kissed my cheek, flicked my ear, and told me to get out of here.  

I got on the train and watched her leaning against her car waiting for the train to pull out of the station.

“This girl’s all right,” I said.

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Talking with a friend in Paris before I left, he said, “TEXAS?!?  You’re moving from PARIS to TEXAS!?!”

And I said Yes.

And he said But why?!

“There are the reasons that I tell and then there’s a girl.”

“Some girl?”

And I said that no, not just some girl and he said that he would never give up a city like this for some girl.  And I asked What would you give up?  And he said his car.

“You don’t have a car,” I said.

Before I left, I had to write letters to cancel my cell phone and my metro card.  I quit three jobs, threw away 30 pounds of stuff to fit into bags and took a plane across an ocean.  And after a while, after a few frustrations, after a few too many last coffees, I lost track of the reasons.  A decision was made and I was just following through.  Callused, I’d call it.

“That or TV,” he said.

“You don’t watch TV.”

And then I thought What would I give up for love?  My books?  Those can go.  My ability to read?  There’s a tough one.  Tea?  Even tougher.  Okay, well… But a city, even a Paris of a city, I’ll  just say that I’ve begun practicing my y’alls.

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I worked myself to dark circles for half a year before seeing Pennsylvania road after Pennsylvania road up and over the Poconos slight moonlight reflecting off Sunday’s snow and onward, onward icy road and neon signs saying how many miles to wherever and wherever after.  We stopped for toilets and coffee and asked the waitress questions about her life and how she lives it.  Josh won three stuffed animals out of the claw machine and left them all at the booth with our empty cups.  “A present,” he said, “for whomever comes after.”  I was falling asleep passenger side after almost falling asleep driver side and Josh went on and over again about his new theory on why things are the way they are.  “It’s like, who listens to the radio anymore?” he said to me and I was almost out then and I heard something like, “…so many lost art forms” and I was in and out for the rest. 

New York to Chicago and I saw more winter cornfields that day than an entire country could eat.  And every waitress had her one line she liked to use with customers, “We just starting serving these Chinese stir-fry dishes and I dunno why.  Grilled Cheese, simple and right, does you good.”  And another, “You get folks coming down from New York and I tell them to take 78 on out the city instead of 80 because you can see the National Forest down there and now with the snow and all… I’m just saying, it’s not always point A to point B.”  And that was her line.  She spent her entire life barely leaving the same small town and her line was on how to best get to and from places.  I think we’re all like that. 

Later on I was falling asleep again to some band out of LA playing about house parties and backyards always waiting for a touch of freedom.  Josh went on and on about Jenn Matthews that day talking about her big blue eyes and bikini tops on Coney Island.  “I mean, she speaks Russian for chrissake,” he said.  I was still in and out but he was fine talking and I was fine listening and more road signs 120 miles to Columbus, 70 miles to Columbus and Josh said he was in the mood for Thai food. 

And I was still falling asleep through even more corn, and Josh was bouncy as ever, wondering what’s next and how and how many Jenn Matthews to come and I was left sleeping off the past four months. 

Josh stopped, worrying about what he called, “caffeine angels,” and I don’t know what he meant by that, but I took over and the drone of a dark road the same bump every two seconds for 50 or so miles put Josh down and I was left humming James Taylor songs to myself.  I’d pass cars every so often and the nice ones would slow some and turn their brights off and then there are those they didn’t and each time I had the thought through my head that they were a little too anxious for that point B.

And for the first time, I was in between.  Did me good.

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My friend Matilda was given a car for her 16th birthday.  It sat in the driveway with a ribbon on it and that night, after the surprise, after the tearful thank yous, near two a.m. or so,  a storm came.  Lighting hit the 16 year-old tree the father had planted the day Matilda was born.  The tree fell, crushed the car.  Matilda still hasn’t gone to get her driver’s license.  It’s been six years now.  “You just can’t ignore that,” she tells me.


Bleach expires.  Check the date on the cap before drinking.


There was a kid in my college dorm Sophomore year who jumped out of a third story window shattering his left femur.  After he came to, he said that he had been trying to have a lucid dream for months.  He said that when he jumped, he thought he finally had done it.

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