The cactus flower bloomed the night she called.
“I’m going to Italy,” said Marianne.
“For how long?” asked Jack.
“I don’t know.”
“I always wanted to go there,” said Jack, hoping for an invitation.
“I need some time away.”
“That’s a good place to paint.”
“That’s what I was thinking.”
“What happens to us?”
“I love you, I’ll always love you…”
“That sounds kind of final…” said Jack,
realizing for the first time it was over.
He winced and threw a Hail Mary.
“Marianne, they know. Someone dropped a dime on us.”
Visiting her folks’ place in Jersey.
Strict Irish Catholic family.
Marianne’s room was in the attic.
Jack got the couch in the basement.
Mother slept with the bedroom door open.
No choice but the old Volvo for fooling around.
Steaming up the windows.
And covering each other’s mouths to keep the noise to a minimum.
“We’ve got to blow this one horse town.”
“Thanks,” Marianne said.
“You’re the one horse” Jack smiled.
Driving into a blinding blizzard with no heat in the car.
Taking turns scraping ice off the inside of the windshield.
Making a tiny window, just enough to see the eighteen wheeler bearing down on them.
Yeah, it’s an open loop. You decide what happens next.