Interstate 40.  It’s getting close to midnight.  I don’t know where I am.

I’m not lost.  I just haven’t been paying attention, that’s all.  I’ve allowed my mind to drift without restraint from thing to thing—like a dog freed from his cage, unleashed, and running wild.  A tongue lolling pisser.

My hands are trembling.  I need a drink.

I’m traveling a long and lonely trail of trouble.  I’m bone weary.  My swollen eyelids feel like they’re lifting weights every time I blink.

My heart is heavier.

Blame it on fatigue but I call out the wrong woman’s name.  I’ve made this uncomfortable mistake more than a few times in my life.  Once I was sitting across from a hard-earned date at the Lakehurst Diner in New Jersey. We were waiting for the main course.  She was crunching on a crouton.  Overcome with adoration, I said, “You’re so cute, Karen.”

“Who’s Karen?”

“Aw, I was just kidding!”

It was too late.  She didn’t believe me.  She put her utensils down, wiped her mouth, shoved her bowl away, and said something terrible like, “You’ve just sprayed weed killer on my salad.”

The rest of the night went down in flames like the Hindenburg.

Anyway, it happens again tonight.

“Alexa…”

I think you’ve got the wrong assistant.

“Siri…”

I’m listening.

“Where are we right now?”

A satellite in the starry sky locates me with omniscient precision.  Siri relays the information in her sweet robotic voice, noticeably cold and indifferent.

Harriman, Tennessee.

“Thanks, baby.”

She doesn’t respond.  She’s still upset.

The moon has risen to the highest height.  Luminescent clouds bow beneath the silvery curves of Selene, a crowd of worshipers, all men.

I think of her…

I’ll never forget her name.  It means Christian.

Christ-like, she broke into my darkness and set the captive free.

We once danced to an Unforgettable tune.  Nat King Cole.  Grape vodka kisses under the moon.

But she’s not a moon goddess.  She’s more like the sun.

She’s of the day.  I’m of the night.

I wish I may, I wish I might . . . hold her in my arms tonight.

Nope, that’s not going to happen.

She hates loving me but can’t help it.  She wishes we’d never met.  That’s what she said when she turned off the lights.  Her words darkened the day with a solar eclipse, permanently blinding me.  I couldn’t help but stare in disbelief and didn’t shield my eyes.  The shadows deepened.  The world faded to black.  Now I”m stumbling around.  Lost to the uttermost.

The celestial iris surrounding the glowing tapetum lucidum of the moon is the color of her eyes: lapis lazuli.

She makes the best tabbouleh.

Now I’m starting to rhyme.  It’s time to pull over.

I check in at the Comfort Inn.  The girl behind the counter flirts with me.  I pay her no attention—only $89 for the room.

She hands me the key.  “Room 323.”

“Thank you, Christina.”

“That’s not my name—but you’re welcome.”
_____________
Andrew Dabar