In the hotel I run water for a bath. I have not taken a bath in nearly a year. The water quickly becomes too hot. I run cold water until I am almost too cold. I put my head under the water and tug on my hair and breathe out so that my hair squeaks at the same time that I am sighing. I do not know if they can hear my sighs from the other room.
He's not good. He is good, but everyone else is bad.
Does he have anything that redeems him?
No. Well, kind of. He cares about his family.
A book of stories can save you. I sit on the boat and count alligators. I hold a newborn in my arms and cannot stop looking. When I walk back to the hotel my hands smell like his temples, cornbread and honeysuckles.
I take another walk and am followed. The bell jingles between my feet. I splay my fingers across his cheek and wait for him to rub me. The baby bird is alone. The baby dog is alone. The announcer creates a story in which the baby dog is alone.
By the corral we dare each other to touch the electric fence. I hold on the longest. We pull apart grain bags and slide down the ice covered hill. I don't remember what happens at the bottom.
I am scared for our world.
Other people do not seem to be scared, in the natural grocery store or the Mexican restaurant. The stockwoman tells me which echinacea to buy. The server tells me which fajitas to eat. My parents tell me I must have health insurance. The baby is not afraid.