Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Los Banos, 2001

We sat there for a long time but there wasn't much to talk about. The five hours in that Plymouth had pretty much taken it all out of us already. So we sat there at a window booth and listened to the air conditioning hum. Listened to the short order cook splatter eggs all over the grill.

The waitress was tiny, I'd forgotten that. She might have been four foot nine. Her black hair was all piled up high atop her flat Aztec features and she was taking a keen interest in our son. She'd dart back to our table whenever she could, cooing and blinking into his shapeless little face.

"How old?" she asked, and when you told her she didn't believe you.
"It's true," you said.
"But he's so big."

But I was staring out the window at our car. Even from across the lot I could see all of our things piled high in the back seat. Cardboard liquor store boxes overflowing with sweaters and books, pots and pans. Things packed in a hurry. Toys from your brother and my Mom's old TV. We were looking at another seven hours, easy, and I hoped never to see Los Banos again.

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