“… He stands still by the smashed suitcase peering down into all his
one-time belongings. Crushed soap bars saved from motel showers.
Flattened cans of string beans. A mangled map of Utah, hot tar and
blacktop ground into the pure white towel he was saving for his first
long bath in a month.
Nothing moves from one end of the highway to the other. Not even
a twig flutters. Not even the Meadowlark feather stuck to a nail in
the fence post.
He pushes the toe of his boot across the burned black rubber skid
mark. Follows the crazy swerve of tires with his eyes. Sour smell of
rubber. Sweet smell of sand sweltering.
Now a lizard moves. Makes a fragile fish-like wake with its tail. Disappears. Swallowed in a sea of sand.
Should he try to salvage something? Some small token of the
whole collection. A pair of socks? The batteries from his flashlight?
He should try to bring her something back. Some little something.
Some memento so at least she’d think he’d been doing more than nothing.
Just drifting all these months.
He pokes around in the debris with a mesquite stick looking for a
present. Nothing seems worth saving. Not even the undamaged things.
Not even the clothes he’s wearing. The turquoise ring. The wing-tip
boots. The bareback buckle.
He drops them all on the pile of rubble. Squats naked in the
baking sand. Sets the whole thing up in flame. Then stands. Turns his
back on U.S. Highway 608. Walks straight out into opened land.”
2/17/80Santa Rosa, Ca.
The Beach House