You left early

You left early and left the bed made, you slept on top of the bed clothes and left the lamps on. They show through the curtain and the milky condensation. Jacky’s car was still there. It looked blue in the morning. It didn’t matter to you if it was the same car or a different car, his, someone else’s. What had mattered quickly seemed like a weight in your thoughts, like a lead apron draped over the breathing of days. He hadn’t been anything more than passage to this moment. What mattered now were the uncertain, shimmers in moments.
You weren’t far from where Interstate 70 split off, a huge divergence in flat open space, and you were heading due east. It was still before 9:00 a.m., still before breakfast, if you had been hungry, or aware of it, instead of aware that every other wash of feelings that a body could have pooled into the room you holed yourself up in at the Book Cliffs Lodge in Green River. The sun and air were hot but they looked cold, they were clear and pure but you believed them dusty. It is easier to think everything else is corrupted and ruined. You pulled back the oil cloth curtains and leaned back in a chair in the enormous room.
You tried to nap. It was too early and regardless of the solid curtains and doubted lamps, it was too bright and you felt your eyes on display. You lay on the floor underneath the table, held its wood cabriole feet and looked beneath the bed. There was a note stuck on the carpet. Someone had written “blood stains” on it. You found more of them around the room. Some merely described the things they were stuck to, others might have pieced together a history of deficiencies so local and anaesthetized that you wanted to be sure not to be recorded. The objects or their losses didn’t have significance. They had to be named, and you wanted to take names as you ran, and you didn’t want to tow a suite of new visions with you.
You had been in the room for hours without eating or seeing the sky and was impregnated with motel grog that you felt in the back of all of your senses, the back of your throat, the back of your eyes, the inside of your skin. Night woke you. You dialed Jacky’s number from a payphone in a cloud of white light. A lantern hung from the wall above it that made your hands yellow. A different voice spoke. It had a southern accent, it sounded tired, it sounded ceramic, from a room full of hard surfaces, and narcotic, like the mouth and lips were gauze, all in one word, “Yes?” and you hung up. You bought a huge bag of corn tortilla chips and a jug of orange juice and shut yourself back in the room.
When the lights at the road came up and the joint in the oil cloth curtain went from orange to diaphanous turquoise, you pushed open the door and walked along the row of cars parked outside the windows, each for each, and around to a detached building with more rooms. It smelled like paint and carpet. Only a few lights were on in the double breasted hallways and they had red dimpled glass shades, like a pizza parlor dipped in night’s blood, and each door, below the peephole, had a sticky note with the same handwriting on it as the one in my room. Each one listed what was missing from the room. You read down the hallway until you could piece together a rather complete picture, from what was missing, of what embodied the minimum semblance of living. The room was what made you exist. It was the least you could tumble into and allow yourself to fall asleep for six hours. You never touched the bedside table, or turned on the teevee, but its absence, a blankness there, would have awakened unknown unease, a misalignment in your charade of stability, and when you returned to your room to get sick on tortilla chips and orange juice, you sat wondering what was missing from this room.



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