engine squeals, fan belt slaps severing all ties the gas pedal becomes a foot rest in fading twilight two pairs of feet track neon winks thunderclaps drown their steps they sprint through puddles giggling and shivering register as man and wife in the motel shack their cabin has one twin bed she hangs wet blouse and jeans - "I'll shower first if that's ok" he dangles wet t-shirt and cuttoffs next to hers she emerges wearing a white towel drapes it over the headboard raises the patchwork quilt folds back the sheets arranges the pillows slips into bed he retreats into the bathroom slides off underwear lets hot stream douse hair wraps towel round waist leans on tub patting forehead cheeks chin... opens door flips towel on dresser jumps under covers she smiles - "Are you ok? You look nervous." he met her, a college ride board refugee, at breakfast sixteen hours ago; her other sat opposite pulling on the straps of a pale gingham dress, long blonde hair unbound, garden flower above left ear - "Thank you for taking our daughter." - her father patted his back, shook hands nodding slowly, kissed his child on the cheek, opened the car door, turned away strangers in bucket seats, she told jokes, sewed a loose button on his shirt, made sandwiches on french bread - tomatoes, roasted peppers, fresh cilantro - smiled whenever he looked, laughed nervously at the New York state line she lies on her side, faces the wall, switches off the lamp he stares at the ceiling, holds breath, hears the current of her sighs break on white pillowcase he could brush the hair off her shoulder trace the shape of her arm stroke the course of her spine to her hip across her thigh drift along belly - her rounded belly tomorrow feet in cold stirrups he sleeps on his back, hands on stomach in the morning, the motel manager asks "How's your wife?" snaps a shot of the couple, brunette and blonde in greyscale, next to a highway sign "Niagara Falls 18 mi"
Source: The author, 2001
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