Harry strode from the trailer. Maria’s voice followed, fading as he got further into the desert.
And stay out… Swear to God… El papel higiénico…
He chuckled. He’d left the toilet paper roll empty once in their twelve-year marriage and she’d scolded him so loudly, he’d never done it again. Fitting words for the end of their relationship. The midday sun beat on his face. Hacia calor. He should have brought water.
The nearest neighbour squatted in an RV three miles down the road. He could make it by 2:00. He’d call a cab, take it to the bus station, start over.
Sweat broke out on his neck and dripped into his collar. He had 168 dollars from a job he’d done for Maria’s dad last week. Maria’s dad, Maria’s truck, Maria’s life.
If he made it to the broken RV, he’d be a new man.
With no money, no prospects. Maria wasn’t awful. He tried to conjure her face, a smiling version before the scowl of disappointment settled into permanent residence.
He remembered their wedding and their apartment in the city. They’d come to the desert for freedom and got trapped.
He had to be halfway to the neighbours. His skin felt sticky and flushed, but he was nowhere near heatstroke. He could make it.
Then what? He turned around, peering back down the road toward his home. A shiny spot appeared in the distance. Harry squinted at it for several seconds. A vehicle. Maria, coming to take him home? ¿Qué chingados? He could dive into the brush at the side of the road, wait for her to pass. But then what? The long trek to the neighbour, the scramble to rebuild. He stared down the road toward freedom, then spun around to face the rest of his life.