We drive

Close to dawn we drive off the road, into the desert. We park and arrange ourselves to sleep. Some of us are on the dining bench. Some of us lie on the floor, stomach to back, half to half, so there is enough room. Some of us take the bed in the back, touch each other in the agreed-upon way. Some of us cry out and are ashamed. We close our eyes. We open them hours later. Two have left, we see their footprints in the sand outside, heading farther into the desert. We follow the footprints for a time. We turn when we are in danger of losing sight of the RV. We think it was two men, we count ourselves, we think it was a man and his boy, they have left their bar of soap, they took a few cuts of meat, there are drippings down the narrow walkway and down the steps. Some of us get behind the RV and push it back to the road, digging our toes in, most of us are barefoot, some of us are prideful of the thick soles of our feet, but that pride is frowned upon.
We drive. Some of us are sick into the bucket. Some of us check for ingredients, flavorings, there are none. There is only the cooler. The waitress passes white packets of sugar from her pocket, some of us feed from the new woman’s breast, but it is work. We barter for clothing, for secrets, for touch. We wear what we find. We claim what we can. We say sss sss sss into our ears. We say hush, hush. Some of us lean into each other and touch. We are bored. We don’t say this but it is what we are. Some of us put mouths to mouths, use our teeth, some of us try not to mind. In the evening there is a red sky. We notice how it bleeds into the horizon instead of out. A few of us pass the drippings cup, but soon there’s none left.

Lindsay Hunter, Don’t Kiss Me: Stories, FSG Originals (July 2, 2013).

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