I probably should have walked away and called
an Uber or a Lyft or your friendly local Santa Barbara serial killer to
transport me to the train station. Heck, I could have even walked. It would
have been a long trek, but still. The worst idea was getting in Matt’s car and
so that’s exactly what I’ve chosen.
For a long few moments he’s silent and it’s
awful. He very deliberately concentrates on all the smallest movements:
shifting into Reverse, glancing in the rear-view, backing, then switching into
Drive and moving carefully, hand over hand, into a turn out of the parking lot.
He frowns as he focuses on the road. The way his mouth moves tells me he’s
biting his tongue, a bad habit I know he’s been trying to ditch. When he’s
stressed he’ll bite it until he bleeds and then complain about how bad the
blood tastes. There’s some symbolism there, but I’m not really interested in
investigating it right now.
For my part, I pass the time by pretending
interest in the smallest details of his car, the ones I noticed and memorized
months ago: the crack in the dashboard that keeps spreading like some heinous
spider who’d just crawled away from a nuclear assault; the floor mats so flat
on the floor, looking like the entire world has stepped upon them with a heavy
foot; the windows that are always, no
matter what the weather, rolled down. Matt’s not the kind to ask whether his
passengers would like them open. He just assumes that what he wants is what the
When he speaks, it sounds like he’s talking to
someone so far out of his reach that he can’t possibly communicate with them in
regular English. Whether that means I’m above or below him almost doesn’t
matter. The point is that he and I are two people on completely different
levels, that whatever thread once connected us is twisted and frayed to the
point where it will just have to be cut. There seems to be no other choice.
That’s why he doesn’t want me to tell anyone.
That’s why he’s insisting that I keep this a big old secret. That’s why he’s so
freaked out and pissed off and just wants to escort me out of Santa Barbara,
away from him as fast and furious as possible. He doesn’t want to face it, does
he? He doesn’t want to admit that he –
I'm a writer and storyteller in Berkeley, CA. If you're wondering where that is, follow the smell of patchouli and skunkweed. There you'll find me with my kickass husband, gorgeous little boy, and manic Lab-Australian Shepherd mix pups. I'm represented by Miriam Altshuler of DeFiore & Co., but of course, my views are my own.