Wet with sweat. Love’s Travel Stop says it’s 101 degrees in Lost Hills, California.
I’ve been through the desert, the dunes, up and down mountains. Cascades, Rockies, Sierra Nevadas.
I expected the ocean to bring relief. I had been dreaming of its salty cool breeze between my thighs.
Instead I found sand. Tiny pieces of glass and shell whipped against my body again and again.
No aftercare provided. Thighs hot and raw and scratched.
And still, four more hours of driving.
“Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper came on the radio and my heart became a crater.
I felt the dread of sinking but I managed to balance on the rim.
Today marks the first time this year I have heard that song and did not cry.
I listened to the end, windows unrolled, heat on every inch of my skin.
One hour down, three to go, temperatures slowly dropping with the pink setting sun.
My crater heart fills with water, my source of life. My source of near death.
I hold still. No crashing waves. I breathe.
I push the accelerator.