Vagabond (Somewhere outside of Reno)



It’s hard to stay awake

your thoughts,

the darkness and the wind

the white line of the 395

I’ve been playing music trying to drown out the silence

that consumes all of us.

our aunt offers to have us stay

when we drop her off in Loyalton at midnight

but I know

I need to be in my own bed

when I wake up in the morning.

We make it as far as Quincy.

The silence was for my aunt and now that she was home

It was time for my sister to reprise all ills , all mine, all

on the road in front of us.

Where was I taking her? Why?

I didn’t hear her words anymore

I just heard her talking and talking

her hand on the door handle

her face twitching

We are a half hour from my house

She’s screaming into the night

How everyone is against her

including me. It’s one am now.

She’s flailing toward me

brightly, quickly

flare in the road style

a sign of something wrong

I wanted her gone

back out of my life as she was for 7 years

back in a memory even earlier

I want her to be 11, or 16, or sometimes

where she’s not screaming and

threatening to jump from a moving car

she wanted herself  as gone as I did.

I pulled over not being able to drive and

watch her arms flail across the wheel

at the same time. She jumped out and screamed.

I got out my phone and called 911

I’d never been threatened for my life before.

I am suddenly a mother and she a teenager

and the screams hit the ice and the snow

and her bare flip flopped feet

and I want to leave her there

in the cold night

she sees the blue and red lights moving

my betrayal of her and she takes off running into the night

the cops say they’ll find her. go home.

i’m happy that someone has told me something

that i can do.

in the morning I will know that she checked into a motel

in the morning things of mine will be missing

in the morning i will regret much more

I drive the last 30 minutes home

with the window rolled down

the cold air keeping me alert

and this moment of my sister

frozen in time.

About Margaret Elysia Garcia

Margaret Elysia Garcia is the author of short story ebook collection Sad Girls and Other Stories, and the audiobook Mary of the Chance Encounters, and the co-founder and lead playwright of Las Pachucas, theatrical troupe. She teaches creative writing and theatre in a California state prison.
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