A segment from my novel. Desert Breeze is about a girl who is looking for nothing more than an escape from her dysfunction.
The sounds of crashing, the lights of the night spinning, turning around, round, round. I lost control of the wheel as I tried to avoid the shadow in the street. This loss of control was followed by a sudden strike of a pole. The air bag inflated and my panic turned into darkness. Paralyzed with shock all I could feel was the cold thin stream of blood running down my cheek. I sat there for a while. Bounded by the seat and the rough pillow of air, I took a deep breath. Then, I struggled my way out of the car. My only escape from life was in ruins.
In the street I saw the shadow. Its eyes staring back at me. Maybe, it was the devil that made me crash. I looked into the devils eyes and asked, “Why?” There was no response. Just then, I was sure, I was now trapped between the mountains. I was locked in the valley. I my ticket to freedom taken from me and all that I was left with was hysteria. The shadow turned from me and disappeared into the desert night.
I looked at my jeep in ruins. There was nothing left to repair.
I was wearing a cotton button up shirt with a camisole underneath. I took off my blouse and put it in the gas tank. Pulled the lighter out of my purse and lit the blouse on fire. I walked away. Once I was far enough I turned around and saw the clouds of the fire rising beyond to heaven and the amber glow. Destruction, regret, and hate can look so beautiful in flames.
In the middle of nowhere and next to nothing is a Pilot Gas Stop.
“May I use you phone?”
“You ok, young lady?”
“I’m fine. May I use your phone?”
“Yes, of course.”
The strange man then handed over the corded phone with apprehension that I might be trouble.
I called my younger brother.
“Can you come pick me up?”
“Where are you?”
“The Pilot off of Indian Canyon.”
“I’ll be there in thirty minutes. Don’t talk to anyone.”
It only takes one road to get here, but it’s a long road, and it took him no more, no less, than thirty minutes.
Strangers, loving strangers, silently sitting in the car. Without a sound other than that of the radio lightly amplified from the stereo.
And suddenly, he speaks.
“What the fuck are you doing with yourself, sis?”
Silence for only a moment later as I collected the courage to respond.
“I’m running away.” I said.
“You always say that.”
“I know I do and one day I’m not coming home.” I responded.
“It’s all in your head you know. Things are not as crazy as they appear. We’re normal. If anyone else in the world can get over it, we can.” He told me.
“It’s more than imagination. Can’t you see that? It’s me. It’s my life. Just because it’s in my head, doesn’t make it any less real.” I said.
There was more silence filled with white nose of the stereo and I spoke once more.
“I’m running away.”
The rest of the ride home was still. Not a word from him and not a word from me. I kept my eyes out the passenger window but in my peripherals I could see, for the first time, a tear from my younger brother’s eye. I did not comfort him. I did not apologize for our circumstances. I too needed to be comforted. I too needed an apology. I will not lie and say that everything will be alright, because that’s not a guarantee. Instead, I sat there. I sat there silently waiting for what would happen next.