Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nate of Las Vegas - Part V - End

I thought privately, and then said to him

“Maybe that’s why I’m on this trip”

“What trip?”  He asked

It seemed obvious, but I added

“The trip that I am on right now.”

He looked at me blank face.  I continued,

“You know, I met you here in New Mexico…I’m from Indiana…I’m traveling.”

His head made a slow "no" gesture to me, and then it stopped.

“What are you looking for?” He asked.

I hesitated…stumbled in words,

“Nothing….I mean, I don’t know…”

Nate swallowed softly, staring at my mouth, waiting.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you"…I said, "I don’t even know who I am,”

Nate nodded, his face became easy.

I continued,

“I don’t even know what “I” is.”

He held out his hand, looking into my face.

“Me neither.” 

He blew out air out his mouth in a huff and I reached for his hand.  We melted in lost words. Time passed as the prisms changed light directions casting color in angular patterns on the floor.  Rainbows appeared, disappeared, living painting of sun, glass and clouds.   Infinity was only interrupted by his thought,
“Maybe "I" is like this rom, maybe we’re all just rainbows.”

He spoke soft, and released my hand.  He pushed himself up off the floor and took his pillow to the small closet.  I followed him. 
Turning our back to the room, we opened the door to the outside desert.  The sun was direct and hot, different from the cool adobe dome.  Nate took off down the gravel hill.  He walked with a small limp I hadn’t noticed before.  
“Sorry for being so slow," he said, turning around "now you know, it’s the foot.”
His playfulness hid behind confession.  I think it hurt him more than he could say.  I caught up and stood by his side,

“It’s okay, I like going slow.”
He smiled toothy. 

“Let’s go swimming!”

He jumped up and landed on his good foot. 
“We can’t swim nude up here, you said so, we don’t have suits” 

“Well, then we can just swim in our underwear!”
I thought for a moment whether it was a good idea to tell the truth, and then said,

“I’m not wearing any.”
He was unimpressed and pulled the back of my waistband to check.

“Huh, you’re right,  well, I guess we’re done here.”
I was frozen in place.  He began loosely walking towards the car.  Had I not been here in the desert with him, had I not been 23, or more afraid, less naïve.. I would have open handedly slapped a man for looking down the back of my pants.  But there was nothing.  None of this belonged to the boundaried world.

There’s a larger good.
Was all I thought. 

We hopped in the car and headed back towards Las Vegas, New Mexico.  Nate mentioned that it was almost time for him to work, 
“I’ve got a three day gig selling snow cones during the fiesta… I think it’ll be good. I’ve had trouble holding down other jobs, but this one is only three days, plus the man who gave me this job owes me some money.”

I knew our time was coming to a close.
He put his hand on my shoulder,

“But, before I go to the fiesta, let me buy you lunch.  I know a real authentic Mexican place.”
He navigated us towards a small dusty building with a turquoise awning.   I parked.  The inside was simple and pleasant; a few customers sat quiet eating their meals.  He took the lead towards the counter.

“Two whole bean burritos, fresh made, no lard, no cheese, two cups of water, thank you.”

We picked up our cups.  As I was beginning to get water, Nate whispered,

“You can really get anything you want.”

I followed his lead and filled my cup with Raspberry iced tea. 
We sat in squishy turquoise booth.  When I finished my first cup of tea, Nate jumped up and refilled the cup.  We ate our lunch in appreciation without haste, drinking cupfuls of raspberry tea.  Somewhere in the middle of our burritos he said,

“I think the fiesta has already started, I’m supposed to be there now.” 
He continued eating at the same pace.  We finished, returned our trays and drove into downtown Las Vegas. 

“Where should I take you?”  The car stopped at a sign on a quiet street
“Here is fine, pop the trunk.”

He lept out the door, went to the back, got his skateboard, closed the trunk and walked off diagonally in front of the car. 

“See you Nate,”
I waved, he smiled and waved back…

“Bye….uh…” he shrugged his shoulders…”you.”  
He brought his skateboard to the ground, jumped on and wheeled off, never knowing my name, never needing to. 

Allison Distler

No comments:

Post a Comment