This time, Loss found me in the grimy bathroom of a Shell station; the kind with a mop bucket still full, too near the toilet. I was wetting my hair, peering into the streaked mirror. "Rip It Up" (Little Richard) started on the overhead speaker. I heard a familiar footfall.
I met Loss when I was still young and made matching rings forged with stories. She made me her incestuous twin, inseparable as Gemini. I've been running ever since.
Before I could even turn around, I saw her in the mirror. Her tank top was on the floor before could speak. Her denim skirt was hiked over her hips. She was not smiling and walked up to me like a boy would; a boy looking for a fight. What happened next was a rape fantasy gone awry. I won't speak of it too much. At one point, she held my hand under the hot water tap, just to remind, "long after tonight." When she walked out, I was on the floor, helplessly clutching a yellow "Wet Floor sign.
Still shaking, I bought a carton of Marlboros and a large coffee, five sugars. A man can't be too alert. Its a dark road ahead and I'm navigating by the blinking red light of a radio tower; Marconi's Star. I'm somewhere near Memphis, miraculously picking up an AM station out of Buffalo. A snow white owl just swooped past my windshield. There's ghosts out here that won't settle down, won't be named by me.
I'm going to Louisiana, get me a mojo hand.
Irma Thomas is on the radio. With strings. Repeating "Long after tonight is all over, I'll be yours; Long after tonight is all over, wait and see." Over and over. When I pulled over and crawled in the backseat with my blanket, it rang on in my dreams, quieter, like a hum, "long after tonight, wait and see, long after tonight is all over..."