I meet her on the side of the road. My car slowed to a stop on that lonely one way street. Her car blocks me from going any farther. Me in a bad mood, I step out of my vehicle angrily and made my way to her car. Just as I was about to yell out in frustration, I caught sight of her beautiful golden hair. Her chest heaved and her damp blue eyes held despair as she cradled a lifeless dog in her arms. Thunder rumbles above us and the sky goes black. Only white bolts of lightning illuminated the sky.
Tears start to shed from her eyes as the first signs of rain fell. Soon, the rain started to fall heavier without any hesitation and we were quickly drenched from head to toe. But the girl didn't care, nor did she look up at me.
"Are you okay?" I asked through the sounds of lightning above us. The girl merely shook her head but not at my question. She seemed to be shaking vigorously so I step closer, thinking she was hurt, but before I reach to where she was standing, she suddenly looked up in panic and then just as quickly confusion envelope her face.
"Am I okay?" she asks herself. She shakes her head frantically making her hair twist back and forth around her.
"No!" she cries.
I watch as she buries her head into the dead dog's fur and sob's. I don't know what to do. I have never been in a situation like this before. A dead dog. A beautiful crying girl. Thunderstorms? I lived in a ghost town for over twenty three years. Humidity surrounded me. It never rained. There were no people around me, no animals. There was just my sister and I, along with my mom.
The girl in the rain looked up at me again.
"Help?" she whimpers.
Enticed by how empty she sounded, I hurried over to her side. She laid the dog in my arms, and I flinched. Never before did I think that moving to Oregon would lead me to holding a dead dog either. The girl wipes her tears and gets up towards the trunk of her car. She pulls out a shovel and goes off to the side to dig. I have never seen anyone this helpless, this vulnerable. It breaks my heart to see someone as beautiful as her to be in pain.
I got up to stand behind her. She doesn't turn around. When the hole she dug was deep enough, I laid her beloved dog carefully into the pit. I leave her alone to mourn or whatever and went back to my car to wait. As I trudge back to my precious car, I couldn't help but worry that I'm not miles and miles away from home yet. I would have been long gone if not for now. I would've been half way to Oregon right now and farther away from that vacuous dry land I used to call home, farther away from the dead man's grave, farther away from disappointment. I sit in my car for what felt like two seconds before suddenly the girl was at my window knocking to get my attention. I open my door and stepped out into the rain once again.
"I'm okay," she breathes.
"You sure?" I ask sincerely. She doesn't answer me and instead, walks away to her car.
"Wait!" I call after her. "Can I get your name?"
Her hair was plastered to her face as she turned to answer me.
"You're not worth it."
I crinkled my eyebrows at her.
"How would you know?"
"From experience," she replies. "No one's worth it."
I clicked my tongue bemused by her logic, but i gave her my name anyway.
"Well I'm Dominic, Dominic List."
The girl pushes the strains of her wet hair out of her face then replies to me with a halfhearted smile.
"I'm an emotionally damaged girl who ran over a dog. I'll see you at the asylum."
"Yours?" I ask helplessly.
"No," she replies then her eyes go wide and her shoulders hunch.
"I just ran over a dog, someone else's dog!" She gasps as if for the first time being full aware of the situation. "I killed something," she continues.
"It was probably a stray," I say trying to reassure her. "These types of things happen."
"I still killed it." She slumps down onto the pavement by her car. "It should have been the other way around."
"What!" I say in surprise.
"It should have been me. The damn dog got to die but not me, it's not fair."
Is this woman suicidal or something? Now she's got me depressed and worried.
"Why would you say something like that, it isn't funny!"
"No," she agrees and sighs. "I'm sorry. I'm not me right now."
"Are you okay?" I ask again.
"To tell you the truth Dominic, no, I am not okay. I don't even know who I am and I'm so confused." She sighs. "I ran away to clear my head but now I killed some dog and you're here asking me if I'm okay and I know you couldn't you couldn't care less and you probably want me move my big stupid jeep so you can plow past and forget you ever found my psychotic a*s."
"Something like that," I joke halfheartedly.
She smiles slightly then it faltered. I have to admit she really does have an enticing smile. Too bad it seems she doesn't do it much.
She closes her eyes and breathes in and out as if told to do so.
"I'm lost," she finally says.
"Like right now?" I ask stupidly.
She nods. "Mentally and physically."
As much as I want to be in Oregon right now, I couldn't leave her stranded here. She might be some stowaway drug dealer but me being me, I'm a softy by heart.
"You have a cell phone?"
She thinks about it then answers, "I did but a guy took it from me saying I had no use for it anymore."
"You gave your phone away to some stranger? That's called robbery!" I exclaims.
"He wasn't a stranger."
"Then who was he?"
"Everyone says he's my fiance."
Mental note, she's taken.
"Everyone? What about you? Who do you think he is?"
She blinks rapidly.
"I...I don't know!" she cries in anguish.
"Don't worry its fine." I crouch down beside her.
"No it's not. Stupid brain why can't you remember!" she scolds herself.
"Hey, hey," I told her gently clutching her shoulders. "Don't be too hard on yourself, come on." I lend her a hand and it tingles as she hesitantly took it.
The rain finally stops and for the first time today I study her disoriented face. Her fierce electric blue eyes stung into mine shyly. Her now soaked black jeans stick to her legs from the rain and her white top had turned grey by the dampness. She and I are soaked from head to toe and she was shaking under my grasp.
"Let's get you dry and I'll give you my phone to call home."
She shook her head as I tried to pull her forward.
"No, that's the thing," she objects shaking out of my grasp. "I can't remember home or who is home or why and I don't know why I telling you all of these things when you could be an ax murderer or something."
I smile and shake my head.
"You must think I'm crazy," she says as if reading my mind.
"No, I'm just worried about you is all." It's true. "Come on let me help you. What kind of country boy do you think I am if I'm not gentlemanly?"
At that she smiles making my heart skip.
"Let me move my car out of the way," she says.
In little over five minutes her car was on the side of the road, leaving the road free for me to pass.
"What about my car?" she asks as I usher her into mine.
"We'll flag it down later. Let's get you home."
"So much for not trusting strangers." She says as she slips into the passenger seat.