their tongues. Lewis and I had this thing, finally, this summer thing is how Lewis called it. He thought of us being together as just a fling. But for me, it had been something longer-coming (waiting through junior and senior year and these last six working months), and I was swallowing it whole.
AITER MARYLAND, WE DROVE ALL NIGHT until we reached Georgia, around eleven o'clock the next morning. Sixteen hours in the car. Quick stops for pee breaks and French fries. Lewis' mother would have had a fit. She wouldn't have fried food in her house. Wouldn't eat it or let Lewis eat it, either. "Our bodies are our temples!" she'd say in a very calm, emphatic voice. Georgia is quite a bit hotter than Delaware, I can tell you that for a fact. And it's lucky, too, because it was in Athens that Lewis' beautiful nineteen seventy four pea green car broke down. Just up and quit, like they say. "Shit," he said. "You got enough for a mechanic?" He turned to me all blue-eyed. A certain strange beauty to his ugly face. C rooked nose and bony cheeks and all I saw was God. "Lewis, we have more money than this car and two of its brothers and sisters are worth, put together. Of course I got money for a mechanic." "But we still have months to go. We gotta save it. Maybe we ought to take the bus?" We agreed to give it a trial run, the Greyhound. Lewis had never ridden a bus before, because he'd never gone anywhere very far away. Never had any reason to, really. The farthest he'd been from home was Maine, for his father's funeral five years back. A man he didn't even know and he had to pay fifty dollars each way to see him buried. His mother insisted. My mother said, What a waste. And I said, I think his mother's paying his way. And she said, No, I mean the man. Turned out my mother knew his father once, a long time ago, when they were both teenagers. But that is another story for another time. I had ridden the Greyhound many times. I'd go to see my sister and her family in Philadelphia every year, so I got on in Chatham and rode all the way south with a kink west. We saw the Liberty Bell each time, her little girls holding my hands. Some kind of tradition Bess couldn't let go of. Something our uncle used to do with us every summer. We bought two tickets South, to Gainesville, Florida. We'd leave in the morning. That night, we slept on the university campus lawn, where hardly anyone walked - so quiet it was like a ghost town, except for those cicadas humming a rage all around us. Electric-wire-in-the-rain bugs. What a racket. 88
The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho