She was cold; got up to turn the furnace on; went back to bed where her husband was wide awake; couldn’t sleep; bad dreams kept him up.
They both pulled and yanked at the covers; naked underneath them; they’d made love before falling asleep. Something they hadn’t done in quite some time. It felt almost foreign to them both; nothing familiar about it. He had forgotten how she liked the back of her neck touched. And she did not rub his chest. It was mechanical. There was no passion.
He sat up on the side of the bed and tried to find his underwear in the dark along with a tee-shirt. She rolled over and counted sheep. They both went about their ways; she trying to sleep and he headed down the hall to the kitchen.
There was a note on the table next to some corn chips. He started eating them as he read, I’ve left for good. Can’t take it anymore. I want to see the world. I hope you understand. Love, Carrie.
He put another chip in his mouth and read the note again. This time with his reading glasses on which were over on the kitchen counter. That’s what I thought, he said out loud. She’s gone, he stumbled back down the hallway to the bedroom.
Wake up, he shook his wife. Wake up Gloria. She got up startled. He turned the lamp on next to her on the night stand. She left us, he said. She’s gone, he began to shake.
Calm down Jimmy, she spoke sense. We’ll call the police and have her tracked down. Go see if the car is in the driveway. Go on, she said as she dialed 911.
The red Ford Fairmont was gone. He began to put on his jeans and boots. She got dressed as well.
Where do you think she went to? Which way?, he asked. She paused told him how she had these dreams of being a movie star. She wanted to live in Los Angeles, that’s what she told 911 as well.
So they got in the truck and drove throughout the night and into most of the next day heading West. Drove through the rice fields of Arkansas, the soy and alfalfa of Texas, into the desert part of the state. West Texas. Going into New Mexico. He pulled over on 40 to the side of the road. Crying, just uncontrollably crying.
This ain’t our fault, she said. She’s got wander lust and a head full of dreams. He nodded. We couldn’t have stopped her. No way. All this driving is for nothing. We’re not gonna catch her. We’ll just have to see if she comes back.
Jimmy turned the car around. Headed back towards Memphis. There was not a word spoken. They drove in silence as radio stations came and went. Fading in and out. This life was chosen for them.