The moment’s rain fell in soft drops on the light gray earth, each tiny globe of water making a slightly larger wet crater in the dirt of time that had filtered and sifted from mountain streams and into the great rivers and lake on the western horizon. Men had brought it in by the truck-full to build the bank on which they sat…on which they sat and deep into the waning light as dragon flies and mud swallows dipped and lunged across the water’s upper edge, seeking a dusking meal against the long night….
Mama’s gonna wonder where I’m at, you know….
Ever since you’ve been grown enough to leave the yard, Mama’s known that you’ve been with me. You ain’t never been nowhere else.
Then why are you saying she’s gonna wonder where you’re at?
Cause she’ll still wonder.
Well, she’ll find out when she normally does, then, won’t she?
A fish jumped in the darkling water, making ripples spread into the long grass and reeds along the shore, tiny water molecule waves carrying the gray dust that slid and fell from the bank beneath bare feet and sneakers pushing and moving stones and sticks out of the way for legs to stretch into their powdery nests. The fish caught nothing in his flight and swam further downstream, gliding with the gentle current, fish eyes looking up from the sides of his fish head, looking for something that wasn’t there now that the sun was gone and gone and brightening someone else’s day.
The rain left a smell of wet dust and nothing more as its bedtime clouds thinned and fled in the blacking sky. Stars appeared in their distance between the cobweb lattice-work of the bridge’s girders and supports and beams and ties and double rails, specks of light glimmering against the earth and her slow and silent spinning, flickers and hope, torches of wonder falling into the tucked-away recesses of ancient time and the enduring heaven of space.
We ain’t goin’ back, are we…?
That’s right, Bobbi…we ain’t goin’ back…I told him that was the last time….
He reached over to tuck a strand of straw-colored hair behind her ear, gently touched a purple-blue bruise on her cheekbone, leaned and kissed her forehead…and lingered a moment to smell her dusty, little-girl hair….
…but we’ll let Mama know we’re ok when we get where we’re going.
Where’s that gonna be?
Ain’t figured that out yet, but I think we’ll know it when we get there….