From Part One
I drive through Death Valley at ninety miles an hour - a fugitive from an old idea of love. No one is chasing me. No one is even looking for me. All I know is that I want to get to the other side, wherever that is. There is no grass there, but if there were, it would be greener, I'm sure. The Ford pickup and I hit our stride together - there are things behind us now; we are heading toward. The wind is warm through the open window. My hair flies around me - the first thing about me that feels the freedom of the road.
By my calculations, I'm in the midst of the Chocolate Mountains. I look at these volcanic teeth and laugh at the whimsy in the name. The truck shudders. The "E" on the gas gauge really means what it says. An omen, a fitting, perfect little defeat, right on the California state line. I lean against the steering wheel as the truck rolls off the shoulder. I lean harder in surrender and the horn blares, as if the truck itself is shouting at me. My father would smile, sympathetically, I think, to see that I've gambled and lost. He taught me that game with the gas tank, and we've both bet against emptiness to see how far we could get on next to nothing. This is only the second time I've lost.