Saturday, August 21, 2010

The two kisses

What began as a whimsical trip, an exploration of our great nation; what spawned from friendship, from lovers, from novelties; from heat and the wisdom that comes only with experiences; turned, ultimately, into the awkwardness of that second, and indelibly unexpected kiss.

We started in the white, Volvo Cross-Country, aptly named Jobeena after months of hackneyed “I love you man” quotes. She was stuffed, full to the brim of all the essentials: my massive, mahogany speakers, the old pad of memory foam, a tent, various packaged foods that could survive long after our timely deaths, maps, books-on-tape, paintings and tapestries.  The teary goodbyes turning quickly into raucous David Bowie sing-alongs, my partner, myself, and our trusty, metal steed set out into the vast unknown.

First to the Badlands, where the land is wild and one can see for miles. 

It is beautiful when the sun sets on the reds; the terracotta sand that sits so nicely in piles, memories of past seas, creatures turned to dust.  We stand on the bottom and look up at the jagged, violent land, and the soft, pink light.  As the night comes in, so too does the wind.  It howls over the peaks and pulls in the clouds, the clouds that are stacked like laundry: grey and wet and worrisome.  We sleep with our flimsy tent collapsing in on our dirty heads, untroubled by the tumult outside.  We sleep, breathing side by side, our dreams softly lit, playing on a stage behind closed curtains, closed lids.  I awake, being sensitive to sound, and see a flash of light - perhaps a distant photographer taking pictures of the warring night sky. Again the light, this time connecting two worlds, reality to heavenly, grumbling with the effort. It is awesome and domineering, a division of such incomprehensible space.  I am frightened and panic.  I gather the blankets and pillows, and sleepy human extremities from the tent as the storm runs toward us, smiting the earth in its mighty advance. We sit and watch, tired in the smallest hours of the morning, as the storm moves south, ignoring our small campground, vanishing into the growing sun light. I was wrong; I had misjudged the situation, as I so frequently do.  We slide back into the tent, under our covers, back into sleep, attempting, perhaps fruitlessly, to make up for lost time.