Then You’re in Kansas

by | Jun 11, 2019 | CNF, Issue Nine

Your therapist says Myhusbandcheatsonmeandyoushouldtakealover, and it takes you a second to break down the words as you stare past her newly highlighted hair to the family portrait displayed on her desk. Her cheating husband looks smug, and her admission isn’t really an admission but more of a No shit, Sherlock moment.

But it’s her son you can’t take your eyes off of. It’s him for sure, the boy maybe a year or two younger than you, with the Irish Setter-red hair that matches the woman sitting in front of you, this boy who has silently been following you everywhere, standing on a sidewalk sometimes, sometimes sitting in his S-10 catty-corner from your house, staring, always at a short distance, but close enough that at times it seems you can smell the laundry detergent his mother—your therapist—uses.

You want to tell her you’ve put the pieces of the puzzle together, that it’s her son who has been stalking you, that her way of helping you move past the guilt and anger and depression after your father’s death isn’t working, that there are other things you’ve wanted to bring up but now it seems like a bad idea given the circumstances (Your cousin has his driver’s license now. Go with him and pick us up another bag of ice. And you come back different, the bag of ice melting by your feet. You can’t stop now. Tease. So you keep going, wondering if it’s true every sunrise is an amendment.). That her breathless gushing of song and counsel is also called a spewing or a vomiting.

But you don’t. Or can’t. It seems there are a lot of things you don’t or can’t do these days.

You won’t listen to this woman a minute longer, so you head for the door (Whereareyougoingwhereareyougoingiseverythingallright?), and soon you’re on a highway, hair whipping your face, fresh pack of Marlboros on the passenger seat, and you cross the Mississippi, and you drive across the northern plateau of the Ozarks that quilts from rock to pasture to prairie and back again, pushing forward mile after mile, realizing that people who keep going, who drive to land’s end, have become your kin.

Then you’re in Kansas, and Hiawatha looks like a good place to fill up on gas and smokes, and the lady behind the counter sees the bags under your eyes, your unwashed hair, and she smiles and asks where you’re heading, and you say I hear the sunrises are better out here.

Read more CNF | Issue Nine

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