Still Crossing the Desert

300 words a day entry 5 Still Crossing the Desert

Was it Simone de Beauvoir who wrote about her life in order to find truth? Isn’t that what all writers are after, after all? Indeed. A little girl named Alice once exclaimed, “I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir, because I’m not myself you see.” It’s been a long haul. I’ve been hoeing a long row. I’ve been on a lost highway since 1986. What have I got to say for myself? I’m sorry. And. I’m tired.

The sky was full of black clouds low on the horizon and wind all day streaking through the cracks left open by valleys and missing trees and bushes, and the wind was dry.

The mud stayed wet on the bottom of my ruby red slippers for days. It was the day for making ground, for making up for lost time, for not saying goodbye just yet. Not able to get over the fact that it was now the weekend.

Utah. That knife’s still in my drawer. The one we bought in that town three hours east of Reno because it was the weekend and we didn’t want to spend sixty bucks for a room that would be thirty five any other night but Friday and Saturday. Even the cockroach motels wanted fifty. Fuck ‘em. We drove all night. We found that room at the Super 8, it was a casino. They would be still until tomorrow. Tomorrow would be the desert moon, the million mosquitoes, the ghosts, the hot springs. We took a walk there, the next day, while the chicken cooked over the hot coals, under the hot sun. We took pictures of a foreign land with craters and nuclear orange mold and crusted layers of crystallized salt. The water steamed, touching it would mean burning. Touching it was tempting. It was relief to have Nevada behind us but North Platte was still far away. Lingering in the desert is such a romantic notion. We packed and left right after lunch. I rinsed the knife in the hot springs. That knife’s still in my drawer.
And I’m still crossing the desert. I’m pretty sure today would have been her birthday, my womb aches.

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