Trail of dust

Miles to go, you ungrateful son of a bitch. You left her in her prime.

You kissed her freckled nose and drove away. You ruffled my hair like I was a border collie, told me to be good, and that was all. Did you see the unhappiness in her eyes? I did, and I was just a little girl. I saw her pale smile, the drizzle on her eyelashes, and knew you weren’t coming back. I felt like something stopped ticking inside me, a lightness that wouldn’t come back. But Mama stood there and waved goodbye. She knew what kind of man you were, as much as anyone could. I saw your grim face as you drove away, lips pursed, forehead scrunched, beads of sweat on your cheek. I knew you weren’t coming back, you son of a bitch. I gave you more thought than you deserved. I only knew you for six years, Mama knew you longer and had higher hopes for you. She never said a bad thing about you, but she never talked about you, either. And I didn’t ask. I didn’t have to. I saw your silhouette when you started the car. I saw the anger and the relief when you put it in gear. I saw the trail of dust you left when you sped off, eager to get anywhere but where you needed to stay.

I hope those miles were long ones, you son of a bitch, miles without rest, miles without the comfort of knowing where you were going to sleep.

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