Monday, August 22, 2011

Missoula to Spokane: Swimming in deep water.

So very tired today. Too much work, not enough fun.

Lots of deep water that's been stirred up as of late.

So tonight's theme is relevant, both personally and fictionally.


There are things people do that they shouldn't.

According to some people.

Most people would never consider taking certain risks.

But everyone has a different risk threshold.

There are some who can't be in the same room with a moth. There are others who are comfortable swimming in shark-infested waters.

And there's a subset, the likes of Maisie and Stella, who simply don't know when to stop.

Their time in Bozeman included (but was not limited to) gambling, funeral crashing, confronting unresolved romances, copiously eating, and driving past the point of safety for women of their age and station.

These were not young women, and what they'd done in Bozeman was more than most women half their age do in a week; for some women, in a lifetime.

Maybe Stella and Maisie were like sharks. Despite their age, despite the assumption of a need for rest, maybe they simply needed to keep moving in order to be comfortable.

Maybe this shark-like pathology is what kept them moving that night, from Bozeman to Missoula.

Stella turned into the parking lot of the first motel with a VACANT light on the outskirts of the town.

Maisie dug a soggy bill from her cleavage to pay for the room.

And they used the change to fill up the tank the next afternoon.

Because it was well past lunchtime when they woke up.

Bozeman was draining.

Missoula was simply a fueling station. And after a good night's sleep, they were ready for a leisurely day of driving.

Missoula had been the biggest city they'd visited since they started their trip, but their pond-jumping was turning into a lake - then to a shark-infested ocean - once they pointed the Dart to Spokane.

Stella was in control once again, behind the wheel. And it was a light day of driving, from Missoula to Spokane. Despite leaving as late as they did, Maisie and Stella figured they'd be in Spokane by late afternoon.

Both women were lost in a fog of memory, still swimming in the tide of Bozeman, despite the smooth sailing on I-90. They stopped only once, at Coeur D'Alene. They went to the Rest Room. Maisie paid for some snacks, afterthoughtish hand sanitizer (it was next to the cash register), and a newspaper.

The Spokane Review was rife with possibility.

Case in point: Carrie Wilder.

Maisie noticed that Ms. Wilder's ceremony started at 8 pm, which was uncharacteristic. Very few funerals take place that late.

There were several other options from which to choose.

But something about Carrie Wilder's biography compelled Maisie to wish that Stella would drive a bit faster.

She didn't say anything, though.

Because Bozeman was still fresh. Missoula was a dull memory.

Today was about necessary movement.

And apparently, as Maisie replayed her past swimming deeply inside her head, Stella doing the same, they'd silently agreed on constant movement.

For them, for now, today wasn't about dialogue.

Stella and Maisie should have been talking. They should have shown their cards.

But they both knew, each in their own way, that they were treading water.

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