Thursday, 14 August 2008

14 August 2008

die! Damn fool talk to her! What’s wrong with you? Aren’t you tired of yourself by now?” And before I knew what I was doing I leaned across the aisle to her---and said, “Miss, would you like to use my raincoat for a pillow?” She looked up with a smile and said “No, thank you very much.” I sat back trembling; I lit a butt. I waited till she looked at me, with a sad little sidelook of love, and I got right up and leaned over her. “May I sit with you, Miss?” “If you wish.” And this I did. “Where going?” “L.A.” I loved the way she said L.A.; I love the way everybody says L.A. on the Coast, it’s their one and only golden town when all is said and done. “That’s where I’m going too!” I cried. “I’m very glad you let me sit with you, I was very lonely and I’ve been traveling a hell of a lot.” And we settled down to telling our stories. Her story was this: she had a husband and child. The husband beat her so she left him, back at Selma south of Fresno, and was going to L.A. to live with her sister awhile. She left her little son with her family, who were grapepickers and lived in a shack in the vineyards. She had nothing to do but brood. I felt like putting my arms around her right away. We talked and talked. She said she loved to talk with me. Pretty soon she was saying she wished she could go to New York too. “Maybe we could!” I laughed. The bus groaned up Grapevine Pass and then we were coming down into great sprawls of light. Without coming to any particular agreement we began holding hands, and in the same way it was mutely and beautifully and purely decided that when I got my hotel room in L.A. she would be beside me. I ached all over for her; I leaned my head in her beautiful hair. Her little shoulders drove me mad, I hugged her and hugged her. And she loved it. “I love love” she said closing her eyes. I promised her beautiful love. I gloated over her. Our stories were told, we subsided into silence and sweet anticipatory thoughts. It was as simple as that. You could have all your Gingers and Beverlies and Ruth Gullions and Louannes and Carolyns and Dianes in this world, this was my girl and my kind of soulgirl, and I told her that. She confessed she saw me watching her in the bus station. “I thought you was a nice college boy.” “Oh I’m a college

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