I tried to scroll through quickly without any visible panic. A few from her, then my dad, then nothing.  An internal sigh took over. No one really misses me. A shattering; the relief from being unburdened by others’ want of you. Freedom comes from breaking ties. I walk through the first glass window: hold no one, miss no one.
“Did it work?” he tried to catch my eye in the mirror.
I was still staring, counting actually, each call from my dad, when they stopped, the pause in between, when they started. Did this start two days ago?
“What?”
“I said, did it work, your phone, all good?”
His eyes were narrowed, not wide as they had been before. Speculating. His face showed no outward expression. These are trained hit men. He had no smile, set brown eyes, a trained murderer. Suddenly, frozen and careful. Suddenly aware of myself again, my body, my stature locked in the back of the cop car and looking too panicked. Suddenly looking so anxious when I’m near the phone and dissociating. Suddenly talking before I had formulated the thought.
“Oh yeah,” I made sure to make eye contact with him. “My dad just texted me checking in. They have power.”
I put my left hand up and then down again quickly; that feminine gesture of “no biggie.”
Smile.
I smiled.
“Great,’” he nodded. “We are going to start moving soon.”
We rode the block in silence. Relax your jaw. I was trying to think of what to ask next, trying to keep my searches clandestine and to the point. Googled “riot.” Looked out the window as we turned the corner. Googled “Philadelphia riot.” Straightened my back. Googled “Virginia blackout.” Bit my lip.  Googled “is my father dead?” Let the second wave hit. It is almost as if you are growing in it. Too much information. Violence everywhere. Coastal blackouts. They are acting like we just had a loose tree on a windy day snapping the wires down. You cannot ask them anything else. You cannot ask them anything else.
“I cannot ask them anything else.”
“Hmm?” Blue eyes perked up, turning his head towards me from the front passenger seat.
I was directly behind him. We had stopped at the first house on the next block.
“What?”
My wrists were aching, stinging. It was a familiar feeling; a comforting feeling, a missed feeling but one I had tried to break. The way I cradled my phone in my lap; so desperately tight and my eyes immediately felt dry and strained just staring at the white with tiny blue lettering, and from a distance. Kept the phone on my lap so as not to arouse suspicion. If I squinted a little, I could see it. “What is the weather in Norfolk, Virginia?”
“You always do that.”
“What?”
He turned the laptop to face me.
“Type questions in search engines like you have to use complete sentences?”
“Well…”
“Well,” he cut in and walked towards me, hands out, “what DO foxes do in winter? Do they hibernate? Do they hide underground? Do they wear parkas and boots and go for long endless walks for hours, ignoring their partners?Your last search asked DIRECTLY what do foxes do in winter? For fun, I assume”
This is contempt. I let him press his lips to mine and hid the shrug, ready to push his stomach gently, ready to coax him out of embrace. When we did the one word exercise today, it was perfunctory. If I had to describe myself in one word, today, it would be perfunctory.
“I have work to do.”
“It’s endearing.”
“My workaholism?”
I was already heading to the bedroom to get changed, back towards him, scanning the room for my boots and parka and headphones.
“Everything.”
I am in the back of a cop car with two cops.
“Oh, I was just mumbling.”
Blue eyes opened the front door and I felt the winter again. This car was heated and armed. He let the door slam.
“What happens when you run out of fuel? How will you patrol?” I suddenly emboldened.
Googled “What are police cars made out of?” I knew that was wrong. Google “bulletproof cop cars.” Google “army tank material.” Google “fuel crisis in America.” Google…
“You ask a lot of questions,” he smiled but it was snide, sort of slanted at the jaw. “Our feet.”
A fox in winter keeps hunting but stays closer to home. It is freezing. Feeling eyes boring hot holes in my stomach, I sit quiet and tight. He was looking at me, looking at pictures of rubber bullet marks and he was certain he did not want to see me again either. Sit in silence. Fold your hands and then unfold them. Pick the phone back up. He’s watching his partner. Discerning. One of the times you played the one word game, you said discerning. Google “futile.” No, kitty cat,
Google “average size of army troop.”

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