Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In the Rain (Finalist, 2013 Abroad Writers Conference Competition, Category: Stories 500 words or less


We didn't see until morning that in last night's black sack of fog and pouring rain when I stopped the car, no longer able to see a road, 
I had parked at the edge of a cliff, as if I had meant to drive over it but changed my mind at the last second. When we crawled out of the tent at dawn, that's when we saw it. We could be dead now, I gasped. We could have crashed through the fog into that ravine below, the car crushed like a beer can, Jim spread eagled beside it, a dazed face aimed at heaven with his eyeballs popped wide open, my body crumpled in the drivers seat. Was this trip worth all this? We were somewhere in the hills of Eureka because he wanted to shoot some ducks. After we pitched the tent, I admired how his big hands could start a fire in the rain, stack it with foliage until the flames grew larger and larger and the smoke rose like mushroom clouds, the flames whipping around the iron pot he filled with raw potatoes, carrots, onions, beef, and rain water, and how delicious it tasted without any seasoning, after which Jim pulled out his bourbon and drank in large, noisy gulps. I drank a little, too, and we smoked, speaking few words, until we crawled into the tent and unzipped our sleeping bags. Jim fell asleep immediately but I lay curled in the bag listening to my dog under the car lapping up the last of the stew, and to the incessant rain and wind, wishing Jim would stay awake and do what he did yesterday morning when he woke me abruptly with the weight of his naked body, pressing, and pushing, murmuring as I tried to push him off, feeling his hands under my shirt, caressing my thigh, his mouth sucking me, his fingers entering me everywhere. I wanted him like that now. If only he would just wake up and talk about ducks, about how to make a fire in the rain, about whether his wife will come back, whether he wants her back--anything to break through this loneliness of being together.