My Time With Jackie


The hitchhiker got in the back seat, pulling her red hair back, pushing the sacks of clothes to the opposite side, rubbing her hands, squeezing her thighs together and smiling.

 “I’d really love to give you head,” she said, laying her bag across the seat, filling the car with a natural perfume, “but I got this winter cold, you know.” She sniffled, heavy, and James heard it, and could feel the smile spread across his face. Right away he liked this tough cookie, right away he was glad that he had stopped.

“My name is Jackie,” she said, as the car pulled away from the curb, “have I seen you before?”

She had memory.

“Yeah,” James said, “you were a waitress, at the Hodgepodge...”

“Yes! I hated that place!”

They began to talk, and somewhere between Orange and Beaumont the highway happened... when the road takes you over, when you surrender to the ride. The interstate pulled them both along, and after two hundred miles Jackie knew James and James knew Jackie. They began to know each other the way lucky people do.

After a rest stop there was room cleared in the front seat and they were beside themselves, looking at each other like looking in a mirror. The conversation was music: high harmony in the vocals, echo in the laughter. By the time they hit Houston words were no longer necessary. Somebody turned on the radio.

They could hear steel drums between the tolls, trying not to jinx it, trying not to think too far ahead. James put his hand out to hold Jackie’s and she didn’t even notice- it had been there all her life, or maybe just been missing. The piano was humming, the guitar was strumming when they looked at one another, sharing a secret, trying in vain to stop smiling. The car was driving itself, drove them both smooth over endless highway mile. The jazz-rock solo spiraled sweet through the speakers...

A drunk driver going the wrong way plowed into their car, killing them both instantly.

No comments:

Post a Comment