Reno, NV - August 14th, 1974
After having driven through much of that night and the late afternoon, we found ourselves naked on the opposite sides of a motel just outside of the city. It must’ve been at least a week since we left home; her running to me with bags over her shoulder, me working up a sweat just thinking about our future, all the while her old man yelled through the screen door at us. He never moved to step out and give chase - just filled the frame with his hulking shadow, which burned into the dry grass and earth of her lawn. Of course, it wasn’t her lawn - the old man wouldn’t let her forget - but now it’ll never be.
She won’t have to go back to that acre bit of nothing she dreaded as life, a future. She’d made her dreams on the promises of Cosmopolitan writers, wanting to be the independent woman she saw posing on the cover. She had it all figured out, some master plan, and I was a part of it. Unfortunately, even as we barreled our way to California, my mind was set in an unease.
I sat by the window, beside a barely-functioning fan the manager was kind enough to spare us. ”Runaways,” he had scoffed at us, “what do I care for runaways?” We must not have been an odd sight: a couple of backwood-looking teenagers who had never left the county, so much as crossed the next few states over. I’d like to have said that we were different, and if not me then her, but we were all the same to the man behind the desk who gave us the keys and enabled us to carry on.
She began laying flat on the bed, face down as to let the fan blow over her neck and spine. After hours of sitting in my late father’s Ford, she had pulled herself down to the floor and under the cool wind that passed through the blinds. Granted, that F100 wasn’t the most comfortable ride this side of the state, but I liked it. It’s been in the family since ‘61, when my dad bought it to use on the farm; I grew up with it, first learned to drive in it, and even got my first kiss in the bed of it. The blue paint was far from new, and the engine wasn’t so cherry as when he bought it. But, it was enough, and I don’t think I’ll ever part with it. There was room for the two of us and all our stuff in the back; and at night when she’d take the wheel, I’d prop myself against the door and watch her in the dome light, still unsure about the surreal-ness of it (that’s the word she used anyway).
“Hey,” the first thing she’s said since we found this scrappy room, in the voice of a girl I couldn’t have imagined a world without, “didn’t you say we had a carton of smokes?”
“Uhm, yeah.” I checked the rucksack I stole from my deadbeat brother and pulled out a lighter and two cigarettes. She got up as I lit both of them, then plucked one from my lips to hers. For a minute she stood there, looking at me with the same apathetic expression she wore when we first pulled onto the highway away from Bumfuck, Nowhere. She held my face with her calloused, but small hands, and really looked at me. I hadn’t ever been looked at like that, and I got all numb like you get when you’re the first to jump into the lake on that hot summer day. I don’t know what this girl did to me, but she got me.
Here’s a post from my writing blog. Check it out, if you have the time, and let me know what you think!
I don’t know what the fucking hell it was about that story, but it was so captivating and just so.. genuine. I don’t know. It was just fucking amazing.
Photographer Lalage Snow takes pictures of soldiers’ faces before, during and after the war in Afghanistan.
god I will always reblog this this is so powerful
“Wait a minute. I remember you. I remember telling you that I was building my pool where your house was, and then you got mad at me. Oh! And you turned me into a llama!”