Sun. Bones. Hair swirling east behind us. Peels of laughter from the shadowy caverns of our happy insides. We drove west on impulse. We wanted to see the desert, as if it were a marker of how far we’d come, not only in our travels, but our lives. When we were younger it was all about the city. Paris. Madrid. New York. San Francisco. But this was the last stretch of living and we both agreed it was more about natural landscapes than sprawling conurbations. You were mountains and oceans. I was deserts and forests. In that sense, it was my preference that won out. It was my journey.
We had two credit cards, yours and mine, a Blackberry and our driver’s licenses. One suitcase. And an iPod that still played Death Cab and reminded us of those first urgent months of love when nothing separated us but the functionality of our street clothes when we had to wear them. We started off on 81, then, switched to 40 around Nashville. At that point we took back roads because I wanted to have fun. I wanted a purpose; I wanted to get lost and pretend we were running from the law, or in the witness protection program. America was a game board of diversion from Philly to Knoxville to Nashville to Memphis and westward.
And then there was Advada’s Diner near Little Rock. How we ended up there I still don’t recall, but it had the best coffee and toast we’d tasted since Harrisburg. You and I agreed. Even the eggs were amazing. And yet, it was the Last Supper- it was the last time food tasted palatable and luscious. It was the last time I was able to hold anything down, the last moment the sky looked so big and blue, and the last of the games. And it was the last moment I could laugh at your jokes and love even your ugliest parts, and look into your eyes with an unalterable naivete, because in Little Rock, or rather, leaving Little Rock, shortly after breakfast you told me about Susan, and the visibility of the road soon grew dim.