Chapter 4



With fists clenched Stephanie felt Orinoco Flow inside her Honda Accord. The speakers rattled as Enya sang her theme song all while she lay with the seat back and her fingers clawing into her thighs. Her laugh could only be heard inside this car. Inside this parking lot where the other cars slept just like most of the people in the apartment building next to it. She didn’t belong inside but she belonged here, floating and smiling and being.

Sail away sail away sail away.

Her skin felt open and her flesh felt kissed by a gentleman about to propose. Her heart skipped over the water like some rock unable to sink. Her mouth opened and her tongue licked her lips and she laughed again. Fingers sinking, trying to hold on, trying to savor each moment. That sweet, sweet rush.

It was nine or midnight or three or something like that.

Levi watches.

Stephanie knew it was impossible. It was a lie trying to kill this joy. Her dead son wasn’t watching anything and he wasn’t judging or looking down or doing anything.

Another song came on but she changed it again. Listening again. Coasting again to the song of her youth and her life and her joy. One more shot. One more flood. One more love.

The drift and the air and the swoop and the drop and the flip.

I’m watching you Mommy.

Somewhere on the single play of the same song she started to truly drift away, from the rainbow to the abyss. The unconscious swallow of the rag smothering her soon felt like acid in her mouth. Her eyes rolled back while her mind rolled forward.

Suddenly evening fell and Stephanie could feel herself floating above this rusted-out car and this over-looked parking lot and this forgotten-about life.

Young once with so much of everything. But the years covered her like the lines under her eyes. Like the holes in her arms. Like the leak in her soul.

Stephanie laughed and fell into slumber and remembered the good and better and best times. Like some thick, familiar comforter, they wrapped around her and allowed her to sleep.

At least for a little while.