We washed out bloodied hands in a rusted through bucket, turned half on its side.
Cookie and I were the only ones that made it along.
We kicked up dust, walking side by side.
Feet dragging. Lips, all but dry skin.
The countryside was harsh and stretched out either side.
All the way to the horizon.
Now we drank.
The water tasted of blood.
Murk and rust.
So sweet I could have been sick.
We both drank slow, in a daze.
Confused by sensation and exhaustion.
Rubbing at our eyes with the backs of out blackened hands.
Cookie gulped. And exhaled through her small nose.
I rocked on my feet, unsteady having finally stopped walking.
My eyes felt larger than their sockets.
And my heavy itchy lids felt like dried eucalyptus leaves.
Cookie sat down, stretched out her legs and lay back.
Her toes wriggling, reminded me of rain somehow.
I dropped to my knees and curled up, laying gently beside her.
Its amazing how isolated you can be when your car breaks down.
We’d waited for two days on a dust bowl trail.
Driving for a day to our hearts content seemed romantic.
-It was something we agreed we both wanted to do-
But distance changes, like the rules of any game when you play with children.
I suppose we were the children in this instance.
The land was ancient and had history that clashed with our own. Cars were violent and a trespass on the roads the land wore like unwanted tattoos.
The dust that clung to the air was my own reminder of that.
“Distance in dust miles”; was what Cookie had said with a smile.
It made more sense to me now.
Not ominous as such. But a regret. A punishment that we had to endure now.
All those dust miles, distances warp when you’re in a car.
Decisions that weren’t life or death. That now were.
When the car didn’t turn-on, on friday morning. Cookie looked at me.
-did one of us leave the lights on? Forget to close the boot?
It was totally dead.
We still had a spare tire.
I smiled then. (at the time). I thought we were organised.
We’d ditched our phones at the hostel.
I was a tassie boy, wanting to get away from the cold and the family and all my friends that i’d seen since I was in grade 7. Such an inbred lot.
Nothing changes. Stagnation. She was different. Cookie was a breath of fresh air. She was English and wild. Talkative and smart. We’d both had it with out lives and decided to go rogue together. Get some heat. Slum it.
“Do you know what Gaia means?” I asked her once.
She told me that she played age of empires on computer. So ofcourse she knew what Gaia meant. We both laughed.
We weren’t laughing now. Now we were fauning around in gaia’s hot bristled armpit. We weren’t going to die. It was a few days of walking.
Less if we got lucky. I’d packed light, genius that I was.
We had water for yesterday and the two days we’d waited and shagged in the car.
Now we were walking. Not the way we had come, that would be pointless.
We walked the way that we were driving. I expected something, a good story, fears, trials and tribulations. Jovially walking into the unknown.