I remembered when I arrived on the coast. I’d decided to leave Wyoming and all the shit that was going on there and make a clean sweep of it. A fresh start. Especially, I though, a good one where I knew no one and no cared if I came or went or even knew I was around.
1979. a year or so after I had discovered there was more to life than sitting in a bar listening to the same people, the career drunks, tell the same fucking stories over and over and over.
She was part of that. Part of getting me out of that hole, one I had dug for myself. And as much as she helped me, she hurt herself. Late nights trying to keep up with me and the crowd I was running with, to try and keep me straight and get me to work on time after long nights out. She was able to sleep at her job and take time away when the boss wasn’t around to catch up on her sleep after nights with me. Keeping me away from the needle. She was a chambermaid. I’d often take my clothes to her work and mix them in with the wash she was doing. Any money saved back then was more money to drink or smoke or.
She lost her will to help and it seemed like it happened almost all at once one night. A night not much different than a thousand others we had had together. The look on her face said it all and when she left I knew she wasn’t coming back. Ever. Two-thirty a.m. in Billings and I was left with twenty-two seventy-five in my pocket and a bill at the bar for three times that. I’d never walked out on a bill before but I did that night. And as I stood at the gas station across from the Denny’s I knew I was fucked.
I hitch hiked back to Wilson and after working some odd jobs for a few weeks headed to the coast. A thousand dollars in my pocket and a carload of clothes and a few memories.
It may be no better here.
I heard she died last night in a car accident on the I-80.