Sketched on page 1, her route home from school, cross-streets shaded: Dutch – Kelfry – Cable. I show her the list of her favorite haunts: Postcard Party – Whitney Dairy – Abbott Library Branch, then the insert of hatch-marks I won’t explain. As my truck speeds across another state line, I say in time she can write in my book too whatever you’re too shy to tell me out loud. My finger brushing the hollow at the back of her neck, I study her lashes while she sleeps, tears shining like dewdrops in a spider’s fur, the cartilage of her ears the same pink as each nostril.
Meals are purchased at Taco Bell drive-thru’s, the cinnamon sticks I hold to her lips as she sits beside me, her knee, by Day 5 sliding against my thigh. I like how she watches my every move, the times I sprawl heels resting on the dashboard, journal flipped open as sunset burns, blank pages waiting for what I may write.
No pretty blond of my prime teen years ever gave me this kind of direct attention, pinned only me on her horizon, open gaze hungry to read mine. I pause for a moment between syllables, savor her stare stitched to my Papermate pen, her hand envying what my hand can do – while her own wrists twist against the chafing rope, clove-hitched and wedged very tightly behind her.