“Desert Gas Station,” by Eugenio Garcia Villarreal, 3D render and digital paint, 2011. Used with permission.

by Jane Flett

I lean forward to your ear, touch my lips to the point where the hair curls over your lobe, and I wonder about falling inside. I purse them like a kiss and I whisper road trip. I have been longing to go for some time. There is only so much here I can handle.

Ahead there is a long unbridled stretch of place and time. I get giddy with the promise of it. I think of us waking each morning entwined on the tarmac, your skin warm and sticky against a hot flat rock, kisses in a corn field, the theft of apples. It will be summer and the world will be vibrating, just slightly, like a tuning fork. It will be summer and we will be enthralled to all the promises summer brings. We will take to hills and look out over the Hollywood sign at the spill of fairylights in the valley below. We will take to the circus and make out with the freaks and stay up all night long with boot-polish painted faces and feathers tied to our sticks. We will remember the magic tricks that winter forgot. Suddenly, everything will be easy again, no need for indoors or morning regrets.

Perhaps you will purloin a mint-green convertible with go-faster wings and leather seats that stick to the backs of thighs. When we stop for gas we will peel ourselves up, skin stinging, and wander inside with bare hobbled feet on the hot tarmac. The attendants will take kindly to our short skirts and beehive hairdos and cherry lips. They will check our oil and water and they will call us darlin. When we leave they will think about us for a long time.

Perhaps there will be a Greyhound waiting patiently at the doorstep next time I go downstairs, ostensibly checking for mail but really checking for opportunities. It will be juddering and harumphing at the kerbside and the driver will come down and grab my satchel and tell me to hurry up hon, and not knowing what is where or next I will catwalk down the aisle and curl up by a window and press my face onto the smeared fingerprint glass and watch where the world spins me. We will pass through Chinatowns and rocky mountaintops and sunflower fields and small cobbled villages where donkeys carry mail.

Perhaps the boy with the liger eyes will call and say “I miss you, I bought you a ticket, come see me” and it won’t matter who he is or where, I will pull on sequinned hotpants and pull my hair from my face and pack my thumbs for the ride, because at the end of the road there is something, or at least someone, waiting. I will hand my ticket to the conductor and sit tight on my hands to stop them clenching in excitement, and when I arrive we will sit up late drinking iced coffees spiked with Malibu and breaking into each others sentences. We will sit up until the sun rises and even then it will be hard to shut us up. We will eat scrambled eggs with bird’s eye chillies and avocado and finally, around 11 a.m., we will start kissing with tingly lips. I will ask him why he has to live so far away and he will say “That doesn’t matter now, you’re here” and we will start the long plot of summer.

omega man

Jane Flett’s poetry features in Salt’s Best British Poetry 2012 and a chapbook, Quick, to the Hothouse, from dancing girl press. Her fiction, which Tom Robbins described as “among the most exciting things I’ve read since social networking crippled the Language Wheel,” has been commissioned for BBC Radio and performed at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.