Saturday, September 24, 2011

153/365 -- Playlist Story -- inspired by "Tree By The River" by Iron & Wine

Kenneth pulled up on the hand brake and rested his left boot up next to the driver's side mirror. He listened to the engining ticking as it cooled before he spoke.

"It's still there you know," he said.

"What is? What are you talking about?" said Marianne sleepily. Fumbling with fingers that didn't quite respond yet she unbuckled her seatbelt and shifted her position to look at Kenneth. "Why'd we stop?"

"Out of gas."

"Out of gas?"

"Out of gas."

"You said that. Why didn't you get gas at the last gas station?"

"It was closed. Thought I'd try the next one. That was closed. Then we ended up here."

"Oh. Well that's a problem."

"Someone will come along."

"Might be a while. We always get stranded in Nevada. Why is that?" Marianne shifted again to shove her torso out her rolled down window.

"It's Nevada," said Kenneth. He leaned over and pulled Marianne back into the car.

"Hey! I'm just taking a look."

"You don't know what's out there."

"I don't think there's anything out there," she said, sighing deeply then yawning.

"You always want to see stuff."

"Yeah, so?"

"There's not much of anything anymore. Not anything worth seeing at least."

"That's a sad thought. But you're sad, sad, man."

Kenneth was silent. He glanced at the rearview mirror, then unrolled the sleeves of his checkered cotton shirt, smoothing them down, then buttoning them neatly at the cuffs. Marianne observed him from the corner of her eye.

"Stop looking at me," said Kenneth.

"Wasn't," said Marianne. Then she turned to face him again, gently touching his shoulder with her hand. "You said something, just now. What was it."

"I don't know."

"What's still there?"

"Oh," said Kenneth. He took her hand from his shoulder and placed it on the dash, patting the top of her fingers. "The tree. The tree by the river. It's still there."

Marianne sucked in a tiny breathe, the pupils of her eyes widening.

"When did you go back?" she whispered.

"On Friday."

"This past Friday? Our Friday?"

"Yes," said Kenneth. "I'm sorry. I just wanted to see it one last time."

"Ugh. Now I'm going to think about it on our anniversary. I've never wanted to go back to see it. I mean, I guess I would be frightened...if it wasn't there. Like it had gotten up again or something."

"The bones are there. The ground was frozen all around, and a nasty thorny thicket has grown up from it. I don't think anything normal and nice can grow on that spot. But yes, it's definitely gone." Kenneth smiled weakly.

Marianne slumped back down into her seat and sighed again.

"Do you remember, how no one believed us?" asked Marianne. Kenneth nodded. "You believed me though."

"I did. I always did."

"That's why I love you," said Marianne, smiling warmly. "You believed. And then you saw it too."

"Yes." Kenneth put his right arm around Marianne and she leaned into him.

"That thing was living in the walls, lurking and breathing and feeding on my dreams, and you pulled it out, from under the windowsill, pulled it out of my head." Marianne grimaced and gestured towards her head with crooked fingers. "And you dragged it all the way down the hill to the river and drowned it. It was amazing. Absolutely..."

"You believed in me, so that's how I could do it."

"I did. I do."

"That's why I love you."

They smiled at each other. Then they leaned back and watched the sunrise through a dusty windshield.

No comments: