Desert Country MilesPosted: June 10, 2015
The best kind of prompt is this, the kind in which you make a whole from some random parts. And sometimes it’s better to start by hand.
Mrs Jiles rested her forehead against the warm leather of the steering wheel. This was her fourth vehicular breakdown in seven months; specifically vehicular because Mrs Jiles is not exactly mentally stable. Certain triggers have been known to set her off.
At the same moment Mrs Jiles decided to step out of her vehicle, an ancient pickup truck rattled and squealed to a stop behind her. Mrs Jiles smiled her brightest and whitest, until she caught the strains of hard luck country songs limping from the truck’s lone working speaker.
Unfortunately, in times of stress, such music seemed to trigger Mrs Jiles’ darker side. Fortunately, the poor kind soul who was only trying to help a damsel in distress correctly identified the sudden gleam in her eyes as lunatic rage, and he stomped the gas pedal and tore around her so fast that a wilted rattan rocking chair leapt from the bed of the truck and landed upright, directly in front of an already calmer, cooler Mrs Jiles.
She took a seat and rocked, watching the chrome bumper fade into the dust, the occasional flash of reflected sunlight shining back into her eyes, forcing her to blink. Her infinitesimally brief ‘episode’ was already all but forgotten. She coughed, once, as the dust began to settle around her feet and into the creases of her clothing.
Mrs Jiles closed her eyes and tipped her head back against the top rail of the chair. If mental illness had taught her anything, it was the lesson to appreciate the going when the going was good. It was good now.
Taking off on a solo journey across the desert was one of Mrs Jiles’ stranger ideas, she admitted to herself. Even when she’d told Cathy, her best friend from group therapy, about it, the idea sounded so un-Jiles that she distracted herself by investigating Cathy’s latest art project, creating tile mosaics on glass to beautify shuttered windows.
Cathy wasn’t having it, though.
“How far is it, again?” Cathy asked, tugging on Mrs Jiles elbow, turning her to face her.
“The farthest between stops is like a hundred and fifty miles,” she replied.
“What’s that in kilometers?” Cathy pressed.
“I don’t know. I have to go now,” Mrs Jiles trailed off into silence, her eyes far more lost than her tone of voice.
Mrs Jiles hadn’t spoken to Cathy since then, her life too full with packing and goodbyes, Cathy’s life too full with a counterfeit vase project. She opened her eyes and noticed that the time was nearing sunset. Sunset was beautiful in the desert. Mrs Jiles continued rocking, chair near the center line, not a care in the world.