We were in a 1971 Volkswagen Squareback heading west through the hot, dry Texas panhandle. There was no air conditioning in that old car and it had a tendency to overheat, so every so often we’d find some roadside diner in which we refreshed our bedraggled bodies and let the motor cool down.
We would sit in a booth located near the window so had visual on our car that contained all our worldly goods. We were only nineteen and twenty-two, so all our worldly goods still fit into the back of a hatchback car.
The temperature outside was more intense than either of us had ever experienced. We looked out the large glass windows to a barren bending and shape-shifting feverish landscape. We spent our time in the diner drinking iced teas and writing post cards. Since neither of us wanted to venture outside, we took turns running to the blue mailbox that inevitably perched at least fifty feet from the diner’s front door.
It was getting towards dusk and we were approaching Amarillo. The VW was not happy and needed a break. It told us by shutting down. We pushed it into the parking lot of a sad little diner just off the highway. I tried to offer a suggestion as to how we could fix the problem. He got mad at me, at the situation, at the whole damn thing and stomped across the street to a small honky-tonk bar. Since I wasn’t of legal drinking age yet, I couldn’t go. And he took our money with him.
I sat on a concrete parking curb next to our little blue car. We were both in poor shape. The sunset was beautiful over the outline of a distant Amarillo. By the time he returned it was long dark and he was happy on whiskey sours and cheap beer. The car started and we limped to a close-by motel. He fell asleep right away. I lit my ‘nth cigarette in the dark room and wondered why I was still there.