Little Sea,The summer after my second year of teaching, we took off in the Toyota Previa you bought from that friend of yours—with its 200,000 miles on it to start—and we drove west, leaving the men we’d loved behind and filling those aching holes with sky.
I was always the early riser, outcome-oriented and impatient. You were the slow mover, the poster child for “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” Sometimes we crowded one another, made one another crazy with waiting or rushing, but most of the time we just talked out of the well of our history the way sisters do.
We got to the Uintas, where I’d fallen in love three years before, and I teared up because he was moving his furniture out of our apartment that day. You drove me into the Salt Flats, where we’d never been before—then the Sierra Nevadas, then the San Francisco Bay. All the while, we spoke our histories and our hopes.
That summer, forward was a thrilling and terrifying mystery for me. I didn’t know what there could be beyond here. You were exactly the person I needed then, the one person who could put my future in context. You invoked our family’s stories and emboldened me to push onward into the mystery.
The synchrobloggers are asking (or answering) the age-old question: Are we there yet?
In bleary half-sleep, I misunderstood the dark figure in the doorway to be my caretaker. The hall light fell in behind him, and I drew the purple crocheted blanket to my cheek and murmured soft questions. Where is she? When will she be back? Okay. I sank back into dreams like her arms.
I woke the second time to something inhuman. The dark was a veil that obscured the shape of his mouth but his eyes, dull and sunken, held me down as he whispered nightmares and tightened knots around my tiny wrists and tore at slight hips beneath my nightgown. I screamed like my voice had claws to tear out his eyes. I kicked with twig legs. His fingernail probed sharp inside me.
Savage was the instrument that performed such vulgar vivisections.
The woman at the bottom of the stairs looked every bit like my mother but for those unforgiving gashes and searching eyes. She grasped my shoulders and mouthed convoluted memories, misplaced faces, fragments of dreams. She pulled torn clothes across her broken body.
Hardly awake, we followed fluorescent lights down the sterile hallway. I reached absently for her comforting arm: she was no longer with me. The dark figure stood in the doorway. She’s gone for a walk. She’ll be back later. Those dull, sunken eyes followed me as I pushed past him into the darkness.
We woke in the morning locked out of our house.