Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Montana Motel Blues #1

He arrived late at night under a hailing rainstorm.  He parked his beat-up pickup truck on the motel gravel parking lot. He stood there waiting for the rainstorm to wither. Listening to the song on the radio. Waiting for it to finish. Windshield wipers  still at maximum speed. For a moment he forgot what exactly he was doing there. Got so enthralled  in listening to the heavy metallic sound of the rain falling on the roof of his cab. He watched as the icy rain fell and how the windshield wipers moved back and forth with such precision and purpose. He wondered if his life at that moment had a purpose as definite as that. He remembered another time when that same question had come up. How she had questioned him on that exact subject. He cut off the engine stopping the windshield wipers completely. He lowered the driver’s side sun visor to reveal a photo of her. He looked at the photo for what it seemed to him for a long time. He suddenly remembered what he was there for. He wondered if that had become the sole purpose of his life. If that was a good enough reason to give up so much for so… He regretted that thought as soon as he realized what would be at the end of it. I will not be deterred, he half mumbled to himself. The rain had quiet down, only a few scattered drops here and there. He turned off the radio, looked at the photo one more time and closed the sun visor. He picked up the duffle bag from the passenger’s side floorboard and headed to room 212. The lights were off but he knew she was inside. He could almost feel her breathing through the solid core wood door. He could smell her lavender and pomegranate scented perfume. He closed his eyes and tried to picture her wearing the one-piece Victoria’s Secret negligee he got her for last Valentine’s day. He was about to knock on the door when her startled voice calling out “Honey?!” made him open his eyes in panic. He stood there in silence frozen by his own self-doubt. He heard a commotion from inside the room. Somebody had knocked down a lamp. The lights went up from inside the room. A loud ring from the motel room telephone. Two more rings and then it stopped. Silence after that. And a deeper silence when the rain stopped falling altogether. Like in a heartbeat he was gone. Back on the cab of his truck. Back on the road. Driving for the sake of driving. Trying to numb the pain. In the morning she found the duffle bag outside her motel room door. All her possessions inside. Their memories together reduced to a black cloth Walton duffle bag. The morning sun had chased down the rain. Pushing to try to find something, a reason, he kept on driving. At a stop sign on a country road he turned on the blinkers to signal a left turn. By accident he turned on the windshield wipers. He kept them on as he waited for another pickup truck to pass him going on the opposite direction. He kept looking at the windshield wipers. Even after the truck had passed. Marveling at their fascinating precision. And how they had lost all their purpose without the rain to wipe from the window. He stood in silence as the sun shined bright directly into his eyes blinding him temporarily. He lowered the driver’s side sun visor to block the sun. The photo of her confronting him. Windshield wipers still on. He stood there. Apparently undisturbed. Waiting for the rain.  

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