I am writing about a man. When I check in on him, he is standing under an old-timey sign that reads LIQUOR. I wonder if he should wear his hair long, and then suddenly he does. He wears a suit and has a dimpled cheek.
He goes to the desert and strums his guitar among the cacti. The Joshua trees uproot themselves, march over to him, and circle him in a funny walk. Stars whiz through the night. He sings about trains and eating hard rock candy, getting drunk amid the soul-blackening rock formations.
There is such freedom in him.
I send him to Mexico, not a real version of a Mexican city but one that expands in the daytime. It’s pastel-bright and explodes its architectural grandeur along ramshackle roads. Cars blast horns going by forlorn street children, Tijuana men and women. I start to lose track of my man. I can feel the helplessness he feels just before he unstrings his guitar and completely disappears into the crowd.
I settle my gaze on an impoverished woman. She’s selling wax candles under a bridge. I say Stop, there, intending to leap my mind into hers. But she ignores me and keeps selling candles. I feel lost, so lost, with no one to focus on. As I try harder to connect with the woman, the ground shakes. The whole world rattles.
Heather Sager is an author of short fiction and poetry. Her stories have appeared, most recently, in Sweet Tree Review, Little Patuxent Review, 45th Parallel, and Vestal Review. She lives in northern Illinois.