You can’t travel far enough to stop writing.
June 3, 2014
I’M ON VACATION.
I’m at the beach.
Sand and surf and seashells at my feet.
Warm breeze in my face.
Sundown lying like a splintered gold blade upon the ocean.
I didn’t intend to.
Then we met her walking barefoot in the sand.
She wasn’t young.
She had reached that age where her beauty had not yet begun to fade, but the years had added a wrinkle or too below her eyes.
She worried about them.
No one else did.
She had come down to the beach alone.
She had traveled to Galveston alone.
She liked being alone.
Until last Monday, she had been married.
The law said she still was.
She knew she wasn’t.
Divorce was not that big a deal, she said.
And it was cheap.
She hadn’t bothered with an attorney.
She simply drove down to the service station, filled up her Mini Cooper with gas, pointed it west out of Fairhope, Alabama, and drove through the darkness until the first faint streaks of morning caught her.
She slept all morning.
She preferred it that way, she said.
No one yelled at her.
No one slapped her.
No one told her how worthless she was.
No one knew she was gone.
But they would.
Would anyone care?
It was not something she worried about.
She had stood in the sanctity of her motel room, she said, looked in the mirror, and saw a new woman staring back at her.
As soon as the bruises healed, she would feel like a new woman.
“Staying long?” I asked.
She shook her head.
“Know where you’re going next?” I asked.
“I hear New Mexico is nice this time of year,” she said.
“It’s a long way from here,” I said.
“I don’t mind.”
“It’s a long way from anywhere.”
“Good,” she said.
“It’s hot,” I said.
“Not in the mountains.”
“You can get lost in the mountains,” I said.
“I like lost,” she said.
“Sooner or later, somebody will be looking for you,” I said.
“Not until they drag the river,” she said. “I’m sure they’ll spend the rest of the week looking for the body.”
“Yours?” I asked.
She arched an eyebrow.
She didn’t say.
By morning, she was headed west.
I guess she was.
She left before daylight awoke.
So I’m on vacation.
I can’t help it.
I found a story.
People can hide.
Stories don’t, and they are more plentiful on the beach than seashells.