You stole Jacky’s car

You stole Jacky’s car in the desert. It was late afternoon. You wanted to feel the world race and stop. You had made a promise to yourself that you would leave and see what happened. It wasn’t an opportunity, it was just a will, and you didn’t think it through. Once his breathing stopped you made a decision. He would disappear. You stole his red car from the dust and were on the highway in very early evening, a bright summer evening. The vacant attentions of dry sweating blank back sides of Las Vegas casinos made you feel thin and oblique.
You stopped where you could just breathe, in Wann, at a chain bookstore, and looked in a guidebook for some place hidden to camp. A bookseller referred you to some public land off the highway. You rolled down the windows on the farm roads, the two lanes, that’s what you did on those roads and you pitched Jacky’s dome tent right next to his car.
You didn’t have a fire or dinner. It was silent and the sun went down unceremoniously. Darkness in a tent is doubly dark. In the darkness you heard voices without lights in the scrub, then drums and a fire glow arose, then you laid awake. You counted to two hundred and breathed and they didn’t stop. You left Jacky, you could leave them too. You rolled out of the tent and put on your boots filled with sand and rocks, slipped out the tent poles and pressed the tent in a pile on top of Jacky’s effigial remains in his trunk, and rolled like water running down the wheel tracks with the headlights off until you reached the main road and then even a bit longer, until you saw the first oncoming headlights far off, and lines flash between questions from the asphalt.
You drove through your sleep on Interstate 15. You beat on the steering wheel and listened to his cassette tapes, the ugliest things he left for you, that you took, for 150 miles and slept in a tidy motel in Beaver, Utah filled with brown lamplight and stars over a dark parking lot. Planets hung blue in pairs above the horizon. You held the phone against your head and thought of calling him, thought of wanting to talk to someone, but he wouldn’t be there. That couldn’t be your concern. Enveloped by the room you fell into the new distance from him, greater than the immediate miles of darkness you had unspooled, and slept with your feet on the wall.

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