The Great Continental Divide
"We got about a minute," Mar says.
"Nah," I tell him. "More like 20."
The cur crunches over the dirty asphalt. I can smell burning, and for a second, have images of flat tires and an over-turned car.
"You better hurry," Mar chuckles.
I reach in back for my new digital camera. It's a polaroid. Just one big squre of a camera. That's why I got it. The square. And the Polaroid thing. It made me feel like a picture would come shooting out, even if it was digital.
"Smile," I tell Mar.
"I am smiling," he says.
"Yeah, but make it look good," I say.
"What do you want me to do?"
"I don't know. Put your arms in the air."
Marlowe raises his arms. He giggles in his half nervous way, like any second an alien might appear and take him to the second quadrant of a Douglas Adams book.
"That's good," I say. "Hold that."
His arms come down to his hips. It was too much to raise them in triumph. There was a sadness. It was like a piece of him was back through the tunnel. Like he had made a mistake by crossing.
He talked to me about it later. After we were back in the car and rolling to Moab. We both did, really.
For me, it was a buzzing in the ear. Like someone talking to me. Like Boulder saying, "Bye, come back for a visit."
I assumed this was Nicole.
"Okay," I said in my head. "We'll see."
I don't know what Mar said in his head. e just looked at me after I told him this, and said, "Yeah, I felt a change in the tunnel too."
I wondered what was in his head for 5 seconds. Actually, that's not true. I didn't wonder. I could feel it. A sound like a heartbeat, except it was wheezing a bit, like some shadowy Baryishnikov was tip-toeing across his soul's retina.
"What are you talking about?" my mind asked.
"I don't know," I replied.
"What?" Mar hallooed. "You say something?"
I bring myself back to me. I put my hand under my thigh. This helps on long drives for some reason. It makes me comfortable.
"Look at that," Mar gestures.
"Yeah," I watch the mountains rescind and then rise again - majestic and fragile. "It's nice."
"Fucking unbelievable," Mar shakes his head.
"Yeah," I nod.
Baryishnikov does another number. This one a two-step-samba. My head bobs with his hips. He's a good little dancer. He can burn holes in hearts when people least expect them.