Morning came, beautiful and dazzling blue. I awoke fresh and feeling something I had not felt in a very long time. I felt as if I could dance forever on ballerina toes; I felt as if I could fly. Mark was up, washing dishes.

“Good morning!” I sang to him. “How are you?”

“Shut up.”

“I see you’re fine. I’m so glad.”

“Don’t start.”

“I won’t. I don’t feel like fighting any more. I don’t feel like fighting anything. I feel wonderful.”

“You would.”


I kissed his cheek, and he pulled back, like a small boy evading a smelly-old aunt. “Oh my, you don’t like me any more. C’est l’amour.”

I was wearing khaki pants and my favorite turquoise shirt, turquoise like the New Mexico sky, like the window frames of New Mexico houses.

“What’s on the agenda today?” I asked, making coffee.

“You leave.”

“Not until evening. Sorry.”

“What time?”

“Plane leaves at 7. I had to stay forty-eight hours. You know that.”

“I know. What do you want to do?”

“I want to go to the Art Institute.”

“You have to go alone.”


“I have to work. Paul left.”

“What do you mean, ‘left’?”

“He’s gone to Colorado to buy boots.”

“Ah. You don’t have boots in Chicago?”

“We sell boots. They’re for the store.”

“Great! I won’t have to spend the whole day in the car.”

“I guess not.”

Mark was not happy. I began to see that he was tired, sad, drained. But then, I’d had no experience in the night with someone. I’d simply slept. I knew very well the hell of our day together, but no idea what had gone on between him and Paul at night, what conversations, fights, discussions. It was none of my business, and I sought no confidences.

“The other thing is, Paul took my car. I have his.”


“Paul’s car won’t make it to the airport.”

“Call me a taxi.”

“You can’t afford it.”

“You can.”

I mixed up some Instant Breakfast and poured my coffee. I guess because Paul was gone or because I was leaving, we began to calm down and to talk sensibly. I walked around the bedroom, finding my things and packing. Mark watched and talked. “What are you going to do?”

“Did I tell you about the foreign service exam?”


“Well, I passed it. Now I’m waiting to hear where and when I take the oral test.”

“Why do you want to join the Foreign Service?”

“I just want to leave the country.”


“Why not? You’ve lived in France, Italy, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. You’ve left the country, so you know what I mean, or you should know what I mean.”

“I don’t know.”

“I just want exposure, Mark. To see things, know things.”

“Honey, you’ve already seen more of life than 99% of most Americans. It’s not that great to go away.”

“Maybe you’re right, but I don’t know that.”

“I’m telling you.”

“I have to. All my life I’ve wanted to live someplace with a different way of thinking, of doing things. I need to get perspective, experiences. I feel so blind.”

“Well, you’re not blind.”


From Fledging….

5 thoughts on “Wander…

  1. That’s exactly how I felt when I left. I wanted culture shock. I could hardly wait for it. I just wanted to know what it was to live a different life, a different culture, a new society.

    • It was necessary for me and I knew it. BUT All the men in my life had had these experiences and were ready to marry and settle down. Since I’d already been married and my life retarded as a result, I was behind them in “development”. 30 something men who are ready to procreate don’t want to wait while their girl friend traipses around the world.

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