All Grown Up #3

Leave The World Behind

July 7, 2012

We’d been driving as the nights and days had blurred into an endless journey in the blue pickup truck. To save our sanity we pulled into a motel for the night. Floral printed wallpaper. Strange sickly potpourri. Rough coral carpet matching the itchy coral covers.

Driving for so long, we ran into the shower, leaving a trail of tired clothes behind. The steam coiled upwards as Billy threaded his fingers through my hair, untwisting the braid. We fused into one as the silken jazz swelled from his iPod.

Hand in hand. We walked down to the store for vodka and chips and dip. I was standing at the counter when Billy came up from behind and added a few cigarette packs to the mix.

“Just in case we don’t find them on the way,” he gave me a loft grin.

We didn’t expect to find him waiting outside for us. He jumped at me and in that moment I regretted ever leaving the safety of my own house.

“Oh god, tell me you guys have a light.” Billy nearly had his hand around the guy’s throat. His shoulders slackened and confusion knotted his brow.

“These guys only sell the smokes, no matches, no lighters.”

I let out a nervous giggle.

Darryl joined us for drinks and some serious chip-dipping.

The next morning I woke up screaming into a tear drenched pillow. I lay there in bed, in Billy’s blue shirt, with the sun streaming in from the thin curtains. I lost track of time. I just lay there, crying.

I picked myself up to get some coffee when Darryl walked in.

“Hey, I forgot my helmet…” he stopped short when he saw my tear streaked face. “Are you okay?” he caressed my face, light brown eyes burning with a staggering intensity.

I clung to him like a little girl, images of darkness and horns and haired monsters sending waves of nausea and shivers through me.

“Where’s Billy?” I whispered.

“He’s gone. I can’t find him anywhere.”

I waited for Billy at the motel for three days.

It was my birthday. Darryl and I were sitting under covers watching a silly TV movie.

“You wanna get dinner?” he looked at me. His face barely inches away from mine.

“I need a shower.” I was still in Billy’s blue shirt.

He ran the water for me and went out to make a phone call. I didn’t ask who it was, I was still waiting for my Billy. My Billy Burns with his Billy blue eyes and that Billy broken smile. I waited for him in the shower like I waited for him at night.

I stood there in my denim shorts and bra, wiping the steam off the cool mirror. I fixed my hair and brushed my teeth. I put on my moustache pendant, the only reminder of Jean-Felipe and his creations, and went to get my white sweater from the bag. The bags that Billy left behind.

Darryl was really embarrassed to see me half naked. I was still Billy’s girl to him. Darryl, messy dark haired, biker-boy Darryl. We drove off on his bike, into the night.

“This doesn’t really look like a restaurant.”

Panic rose through every inch of my body. We were on an abandoned stretch of road.

He looked at me in a way that set me on fire. “Do you trust me?”

I nodded and he placed a blindfold over my eyes. If I died tonight, I’d die with no regrets.

He took me by the hand a few metres away, off the road, into a clearing. I could tell because the trees felt more spaced out. I could sense the stillness of a lake nearby. And before I took my next step, he picked me up and placed me on something high. A pedestal. And I was back in Jean-Felipe’s store. Pain racked through me at the memory. Of all the people, I never thought I’d miss him.

“Keep ‘em closed.” He whispered next to my ear. The smell of cigarettes and after-shave wafting around him like an aura.

He opened the blindfold and stepped away from me.

I opened my eyes to a constellation of bright lights, twinkling around a forgotten basketball court. There were millions of tiny coloured sparks, and they all lit up for me.

“Happy Birthday.”

I backed right into his arms. He flipped me around and kissed me like I’d never been kissed before. I was out of breath before I knew it.

“I found something in your room. I think it was meant for you.” We stood there wrapped in each other, looking at a fluffy package.

I opened it to find Jean’s dreamcatcher dress.

Darryl made me wear it. We danced to Nancy Sinatra. The dance I could’ve had with Billy. But mother would approve of Darryl. Rugged, beautiful Darryl.

“Come away with me”, he said.

And I did.


Rohan Dahiya

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