A memory of a life. Part 1

The places we have been, the places we’ve seen, how minor or large lead us to a point. A point we’re only really aware of in hindsight. This point is the start of a better life, but with the flow of life the currents can swallow you or spit you out. But at least you get to swim.

Gravel crunches like broken bones as we walk to the front office of the dinky motel. We part hands as we reach the door. I stick my device into my pocket then hold the door open for her.  The man behind the counter perks up at the ding of the bell. With shifting eyes, his hand hovers close to the edge. “How can help you, folks?”  He asks. I set my bag on the counter and open it. “We need a room.” I mutter. His face is wavy and uncertain, but as I pull the cash from my bag everything changes. “A room then, honeymoon suite?” I look to Cynthia and she nods, I then exchange a nod to him. He grabs the key from the hook and mumbles something with the words ‘legal’ and ‘world.’ I want to smack him, but his words aren’t clear enough for the cause. I zip my bag as he leads us outside. We pass room by room until we reach the end. He unlocks the door and opens it.  Cynthia enters the room as I pay the man. “Some profit from the war more than others, ay?” He asks in a college boy like tone. I stuff the money into his hand and take the key. I slam the door to release my anger, it does its job. I set my bag at the foot of the bed as Cynthia gets out of the bathroom. “This place looks familiar, kind of eerie.” She says as she kicks off her shoes and sits on the other side. “They all do, I don’t think we’ll stay here another night.” I say. I undress and turn on the lamp next to the bed. I tuck myself in and Cynthia scoots in beside me. I turn off the lamp but the ceiling light was still on. Cynthia chuckles, I scurry my way out of the covers like a cat and dash to the light switch. Unlike a cat when the light disappears I am blind. I try to follow the same path back but the bed appears far sooner than I have estimated. I fall forward and land on her legs. Her chuckle turns into a cachinnation. I roll around and slither my way to the headboard. “Well I’m not sleepy, are you?” I ask her. I listen to her wipe the laughing tears from her eyes then shakes her head no. I move under the covers. We twisted the sheets until our expectations were met and we both felt tired.

As Cynthia soaks in the tub I have the operator connect me with a cab company. The first one didn’t come out this far but suggested another. I connect with them and order the cab. I hang up the phone as if a shadow I didn’t realize Cynthia was behind me. I start to yell to the bathroom but quiet down. “The  cab will be… oh, the cab will be here in 30 minutes.” She shakes the towel over her head then stops. “Perfect.” She says tossing the towel on the floor then lays down on the bed. “I’ll take just a small nap.” She says shutting her eyes.  I sit up from the bed and grab a cigarette from the pack sitting on the dresser. “You should probably get dressed instead.” I  lean against the dresser as I watch her. She kicks her legs in the air. “Awe, but you know how much I like to sleep!” She sits up and slaps the bed with both her hands. “Fine, I’ll sleep in the taxi!” She gets up from the bed and rustles through the contents of her bag.

The cab arrives 5 minutes earlier than anticipated. I put the bags in the trunk as Cynthia drops the motel key into the box. I hold the door for her and she slides in. I ask the driver to take us to the closest dealership, which was still a 50-minute drive. Right as the car begins to move Cynthia, as promised, falls asleep.

The drum brakess squeak as the cab pulls in front of the car lot. Cynthia sits-up and clumsily wipes the drool from her mouth. I pay and tip the driver as he helps me remove the bags from the trunk. “Is this it?” she asks waking up as she walked closer to the parked cars. “I believe so.” I say. I finally reach her as she stops at a powder blue Plymouth. An elderly woman comes hustling from a dinky travel trailer. “I like this one.” She says as she wipes a small layer of dust from the hood. “It is rather nice.” I say as the woman reaches us. “What can I help you with?” She tries to wipe the grease from her hands before she shakes ours. “We’re looking for something reasonable.” I say. “What he means to say is cheap.” Cynthia interjects. “Well, this Cambridge isn’t the cheapest I have here, but it will cost you less money in the future.” As if she knew the perfect tone Cynthia and I both smile. “So how about I grab the keys and we’ll take it out for a whirl.” She darts back to the small office to grab the keys. I walk to the trunk to put the bags in, on a whim I press the button and it pops open. I close the trunk when the car saleslady walks up. She goes to hand me the keys but Cynthia pops up from nowhere and snatches them. “I’ll drive!” She shouts already heading for the driver door. The saleslady and I both shrug then I extend my hand to do a proper introduction. “I am Karl, and that’s Cynthia.” I say. She must have washed her hands while she went to get the keys as they were as clean as could be. “Meredith. Shall we?” She lets go of my hand and we walk to the other side of the car. I push the passenger seat forward and sit in the back. “Just replaced the generator this morn, so she should run just fine.” Meredith says as she rolls down the window. Cynthia starts the car as I search for my seat belt, realizing there wasn’t going to be one I give up pretty quickly. Like a natural, she backs the car up and pulls it out on the road. The wind blows in as we reach highway speeds making it impossible to hear their conversations. We drive like this for awhile then turn around to head back to the lot. As we slow down to pull into the driveway I can hear their voices again. “…my whole life I reckon. It’s been a journey, never did I thought I would be running this place myself.” Meredith says. We park and they hop out of the car nearly forgetting me. As I step out Cynthia already has everything figure out. “Karl, we’re taking it. Can you pay the nice lady?” I run my fingers through my hair then go to the trunk. I unzip the bag and pay her the shoe polished price on the window.  We do the title and the bill of sale. My stomach grumbles the entire time. Meredith waves goodbye as we drive away.

Cynthia starts to doze on and off as we reach the diner. As I stop she looks up. “No way!” She shouts realizing where we are. She rushes out of the car and into the restaurant. She sits on the same stool she sat many years in the future. “This is wonderful!” She says looking around the diner. It appeared exactly the same as when we first visited it, which hasn’t happened yet, but has. A young waitress comes to us on the other side of the counter. “What can I get started for you folks, or do you need more time?” She asks with a youthful voice. “Two coffees!” Cynthia’s almost shouts. “You got it, hun.” She says as she pulls two mugs from under the counter. As the waitress walks away to grab the coffee Cynthia swivels in her stool to face me. “What are we going to do after this?” She asks. “We need to find a place to live I suppose, then some work.” The young lady comes back with the coffee pot and fills our cups. “I don’t mean to intrude, but Mr. Weatherby has a lot he’s looking to sell.” She over fills my coffee as she finishes “Oh, I’m so sorry!” I grab some napkins and wipe it up. “No worries.” I say. She smiles and I smile in return. “Here’re your menus.” before I could get my fingers on it Cynthia has her food order memorized. Soon our food comes and Cynthia swears it tastes exactly the same. With our plates clean we get up and I put the cash on the counter. “Wait!” The waitress shouts as we turn to leave. She scribbles on her order pad and hands the piece of paper to me. “That’s how you get to his house from here if you’re still interested. ”  I nod a thank you and stuff the paper into my front breast pocket.

Down a small dirt path along what I assume to be onions in the field we make it to his house. We walk up the front porch and with my hand poised to knock the door opens. “You, you, must be the couple Rose called, called about?” Somewhat startled it takes me a second to put the word into my mouth, Cynthia was equally surprised. “Well, come in.” His manner of speaking was rushed then not as if he was going to be interrupted at any point, and at times he was by unknown forces. We walk in the open door and he shut it behind us. “Olive! We have us, us some gue- guests!”  A voice calls out from somewhere in the house. “Alright dear.” He ushers us into the main room and we sit on his couch, he clicks the radio off and sits down. “So you want to, to buy my lot?” He asks. I feel nervous so I just shake my head up and down. “That’s great!” He stands up from his chair and reaches his hand forward. “Name, the name is Jasper Weatherby.” He nearly shouts at the end. I stand up and shake his hand and introduce Cynthia and I. Then Olive, formally known as the ghostly voice, comes into the room with a tray of glasses. “Iced tea?” She asks as she set the tray on the table in front of us. “Please, and thank you.” I say feeling unnaturally parched. “How b’b’out we finish this tea, and, and we go see that property.” Jasper says as he picks up his own glass. Cynthia follows suit. Maybe it was something with the cool taste of the tea or the house, but conversation sparked up and carried on far pass one glass of tea. As dusk began to show Jasper looks out the window and speaks. “Well, shoot, look like, the time came and went. How ’bout you fo- follow me over to that lot?”  We say a goodbye to Olive and follow Jasper outside. Cynthia drives as we follow him back down the small dirt path.

We hit the pavement for a little while but went down another dirt road. The sun shines right through the window making us both squint. Finally, we get to the end of the road and Jasper pulls his truck to the left.  Yumi follows him perfectly.  We step out and meet him as he stands in front of his truck. “This is it.” he says as he spreads his arms as if to encompasses the entire lot. “It’s just too, too much of a pain to grow on it. I sh-should have plotted this better.” The lot wasn’t very large but it was right next to the ocean and enough to build a house on. “So how much are you thinking?”  I ask Jasper as Cynthia leaves my side to walk towards the point where the ground just drops off at 200 feet or so. “A thousand.” He says quickly. I forget about inflation and the price sound reasonable. “We’ll do it.” I say to him as I reach out my hand for his. “Great- we, we can do payments. Say hundred down?” I smile then reply. “Prefect.” We shake on it. I had the cash now, but I didn’t want to draw suspicion. “I’ll leave ya to it then. We’ll do the papers after supper.” Jasper says then steps into his truck and drives away.

I light a cigarette as we sit watching the sunset. About to put my device back into my pocket when the ongoing silence is broken. “Shouldn’t you just get rid of that by now?” Cynthia asks. I pull the cigarette from my mouth. “Smoking?” I am dumb. “No!” She shouts as she messes my hair. “That time thing, you don’t need it now, this is our new life. No looking back.” I put the cigarette between my lips and set the device on the ground in front of me. “If I do it, that’s it, we’re here until we die.” She leans over and rests her head on my arm. “Till death.” she says. The sun slides behind the silky blue curtain. I take the device in my hand and sit up. With only a short breath I throw it into the blue.