Promise land

He kept lookin’ at her in the rear view mirror…drivin’ down the highway in the early mornin’ hours…she was all stretched out in the back seat of a Dodge…had her thumb in her mouth…cowboy boots kicked off…head turned sideways…a ponytail over half a face…

The radio was turned down low…just barely loud enough to keep him awake…kept smokin’ cigarettes…an ashtray filled with filters…fingers burned in between…a thermos of coffee on the seat next to him…pitch black as they drove ‘cross Kansas into Colorado…two one hundred dollar bills in his wallet…all he had left…

And she twisted and turned askin’ him if they were there yet…,Hush baby doll…go back to sleep…we got miles to go…, lit another smoke and took a swig of joe…his eyes were turnin’ red…

They pulled into a rest area a few miles over the state line…turned the engine off and rolled down the windows to let the cool Spring air breeze through the car…leavin’ the sweet smell of night time behind as the mornin’ sun came up over ’em…he closed his eyes and fell into a dream…same dream he had every night…’bout her…the woman who had left ’em both when she was needed most…it was a world of hurt for him…the kid too…it was a bond that father and daughter kept…unspoken…their tears were gone after the night she left…pinky promises…

The dad woke up a couple of hours later…looked at his little girl who was now leanin’ ‘gainst the window…bitin’ her lip and waitin’ to get back on the road…,You been up long…,pop asked his princess…she nodded her blonde head and shrugged her shoulders…,We’ll get there soon…we’ll get there soon…, he started up the old beater and turned up the radio…some gospel station…people singin’ ’bout salvation…big trucks rollin’ by…she started countin’ ’em as they passed…lookin’ at the different state plates…ponytail blowin’ in the breeze…

She asked him hours later…,Dad…where we headin’ to…, he just looked at her in the mirror and said…, Promise land baby…we’re headin’ to the promise land…, she smiled…he gave out a laugh…lit another cigarette and kept on drivin’…

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