Friday, April 17, 2009

Sallow Susan

She had only last planned driving down the highway. She didn’t know where she was headed, but it didn’t really matter. Things just needed to be made right, and if anyone was going to do it, why not herself? She needed to escape. All that mattered was that she put as many miles between her and Chicago as possible.
A familiar sound buzzed through the car. Text message. Good thing the traffic was slow at three in the morning.
suz u r in NO condi. to drive…that shits gonna get fucked thats MY car tu no
“Bullshit!” Susan screamed, all of a sudden. Her voice was a little scratchy due to not being used for nearly an hour. “Bullshit bullshit bullshit!”
Susan felt as if she had helped make at least half the payments on the Plymouth she was sliding down the highway in. But José didn’t give a fuck. He didn’t give a god-damned shit. She would just hand him the money. He probably didn’t even spend it on the damn car; he probably got laid every fucking night by a different girl, leaving her at home by herself. The creditors were always calling. He didn’t answer the phone because he was always gone, doing something mysterious. If she even asked where he had been he would just tell her to shut up, goddamn it. Sometimes he wouldn’t even speak English for her.
She had always wanted to want to escape. She just didn’t think it mattered all that much, for a long time, whether she stayed or left. Susan had a very high boiling point. Like copper, or something, right? That stuff takes forever to boil.
“Who gives a fuck!” Susan’s frantic voice again. “It doesn’t even matter what I do now. I’m stuck here on the highway. I have nowhere to go! No one to see! Fucking, goddamn son-of-a-bitch no one!”
Susan usually made it a point never to curse, but these sure were extenuating circumstances. She had nothing but the car, her CD case (“Ironic” by Alanis Morissette was playing medium-softly), her cell phone, a duffel bag of clothes and a toothbrush, and the vodka she had under the passenger side. She didn’t even have her wits any more, it seemed.
“Shut the hell up!”
The road was empty on I 80-W out of Chicago. Cars weren’t out at 3 AM, they all respected themselves well enough to be asleep at this time of night. They had jobs, friends—pasts, futures. You know, everything that everyone wants. Like a sitcom, like a Hallmark card.
She figured she could make all the way to Iowa City. Start fucking fresh. Maybe she could make things right this time. No more stupid relationships. No more stay at home and live off the trust fund. No more no life. She would change her name. Blanca. She had always liked that name, for some reason. She wanted it for her and José’s child, but it had turned out that she was infertile. So if she couldn’t give the name away, she would keep it. Hold on to it tight.
All of a sudden she remembered what he had said, two nights ago. “I don' t da una mierda maldecida dios qué usted hace con su vida! Aren' ¿t nosotros en esto junto? Pozo no más. I' m en esto para mi uno mismo de mierda ahora,” from which she could only figure out tht he was switching between Spanish and English, his alcohol intake sure was showing, and that he didn’t care about what she did anymore.
So she left. With nothing to her but some collected items and a beautiful, beautiful name that almost fit her, she left.

5 comments: said...

I didn't know you liked to write! My favorite line: "Sometimes he wouldn't even speak English to her." Thats good.

And sad story :( This isn't a symbolic reflection of your life is it? They say that most people have an increase in creativity during times of overwhelming passion. I hope you're okay :)

Patrick Zagorski said...

Things are really good actually. It's a good passion. I just have to get back on track. I'm falling in love with my boyfriend and back in love with myself all at once.

Judy Martin said...

Susan (like so many of us) has reached a point of no return where she "turns the page" of her life and starts a new chapter. She is progressing, moving forward instead of regressing. The line "like a Hallmark card" was great in contrast with the anti-hallmark scenario. Your writing strategy used contrasts well to support the idea of much needed change--different cultures; language extremes; socio-economic diversity. Also Susan seemed 'real' and engaged my empathy. Keep writing because a problem ignored is a problem unresolved that is bound to grow worse. Peace!

Patrick Zagorski said...

Mrs. Martin, your comments are well received and part of what you wrote wasn't even a part of my intentionality. I'll take it into account and add some of those ideas to my process.
Thank you so much.

nofunintended said...

"So if she couldn’t give the name away, she would keep it. Hold on to it tight."

Really liked that part.