- Vol. 02
- Chapter 05
“Get moving kid, we gotta be outta here in five minutes,” my dad said, snapping his gum between orders.
I turned back to look at the donkey.
“Come on, come on,” Stephanie said, hopping on her left foot, trying to adjust the strap of her platform shoe and elbowing me in the back to move me forward, “don’t just freakin’ stand there kid.”
My throat was on fire, like I’d swallowed the burning Nevada sun. I couldn’t explain how I felt to my dad and Stephanie but I couldn’t leave that donkey here. Abandon it to the abandoned motel.
“I’ll carry it with me the whole way,” I said in a timid voice - and again because nobody seemed to hear me.
“Oh sure,” Stephanie said, rolling her eyes as she fished in her purse for the pills she took before long car journeys.
My dad put his hand on her shoulder, whispered something in her ear, too low for me to hear. He smiled, his cheekbones rising and pushing his tinted sunglasses up further on his face. The secret passed between them as he squeezed her bum and then he clicked his fingers at me.
“No more bullshit Sam. Get in the car. Two minutes.” he said as he walked back into the dark room, making sure nothing of us remained there.
“I, for one, am glad to get out of this fucking hellhole,” Stephanie said while giving the finger to the creaky motel sign, the ‘F’ hanging off it’s hinges. “Hey Fountain Gate,” she yelled, cupping her hands around her mouth, “Fuck you!”- her voice echoing around the yard, disturbing the empty spaces.
The donkey remained unmoved.
She broke into hiccupy, stunted giggles and then opened the passenger door with a flourish, “Get in,” she said pointing a glossy, pink, chipped nail at me.
I couldn’t move.
“Get in,” she repeated louder, all laughter gone.
“Whole new beginnings kid,” my dad said, coming up behind me - wincing in the sunlight and stubbing out his third Marlborough. “Miles away from this shithole.”
Everything was moving too fast. This place used to be monotonous and unchanging. It was never home - a motel can never be home, but it was the longest place I’d ever stayed in. Ever since my mother. Ever since home.
The donkey on Christmas Day. The woman who looked like my mother. Splashing in the pool with the white-blonde children. Wrapping them in the fluffy white towels. Towels that smelt like my mother. Pushing the donkey around. Kids laughing hysterically. My eyes following them around the pool. Her eyes meeting mine. Smiling.
Was that last year?
Rigidly I stared straight ahead. Blown trash whipping at the chain link fence. Sirens ringing in the distance. The steamy, dizzying, morning heat haze. The screech of my dad’s brakes. Stephanie’s shrill voice threatening. Sirens ringing louder. I stared at the donkey unmoving, my eyes burning with tears.