Chapter 58 - Drive North
Grandma had an older red mini truck with a camper shell with peeling faux wood applique and tinted plastic windows. She popped down the tailgate and shooed us inside. I hopped up quickly followed by Apoc we climbed onto the bags in the truck bed.
The cops zoomed past us in a cloud of dust. She pulled out and turned onto the main road out of Slab City. Other cars were going out and pulled in behind us, very quickly it became entangled in a mass exodus from the makeshift city in the desert. At the main road half the cars turned left and half turned right. We were on our way once again.
She slid open the rear window to the little camper shell, and regaled us with stories of her life. Her name was Claire and she was going to visit her daughter in Washington state. Her daughter was pregnant and she wanted to be there when the baby was born. Her daughter, of course, didn’t want her driving all that way by herself. She chuckled and said her daughter got her wish, that she now had two very big protectors. She wasn’t looking forward to seeing her son-in-law. She thought he was kind of an arrogant jerk and worried if he would be a good father to her grand children. But her daughter had picked him, and she was trying to be supportive. But she doubted that they would have married if he hadn’t gotten her pregnant. She was excited, and had even knitted two baby outfits and booties, one pink and one blue to cover all the bases.
Apoc laid down on top of a laundry bag of clothes, and was out like a light. It took me longer as I listened to the stories of her daughter, and the daily dramas of a normal life. I sniffed my bloody paws, Christopher’s blood had hardened, and was caked with the gritty brown sand. A second death that I was directly responsible for, I told myself that I shouldn’t feel responsible if someone takes their life at just the sight of me.
My thoughts rippled out, what terrifying harbinger must I be, to have those who know what I really am, ready to kill themselves before risking the possibility of being forced to talk? It was as if I had been reborn into a world that I no longer recognized. It wasn’t just the new patchwork body that I had glimpsed in my reflection, or the different way in which people treated me, it was as if the world I had previously known was a mask that had been ripped away from the real monster underneath. Now that I was invisible, it was if I had stepped out of the river of life and was watching it all from the shore. I felt I could see it for what it really was.
I thought of my own mother. And wondered if her dreams of me and my future children had died already or if she was still dreaming of them somewhere out there in the water of the river. She had said to me once, at my grandmas funeral, that I was her chance at immortality. Through me she would live on, even after her time here was through. I admit I still dreamed of a baby someday. But I couldn’t hold a baby anymore, or care for it. I wouldn’t be able to pick it up when it cried or hold it to my breast and feel it drink of me. I wondered if my eggs were still in me, or if Shen had them in a vial somewhere. And if I still had them, was there enough of me, that was still me, to even make a baby?
But in my dreams I was still human, I could talk and dance, and sing. I could eat chocolate, laugh with friends, play with Blossom, then take long hot showers and take care of my dream baby. I remember falling asleep with her in my arms.