Cormac M. | Author | A dusty home at the end of a road, NM
It was boots he needed. He surveyed the store looking for a someone who would understand, but knew he would find no kin here. He settled upon a teenaged girl wearing the polo shirt livery of the store. Blemished skin not yet that of a woman. Her hair in a severe pony tale. A twinge in his memory, echoes of loss or love.
Excuse me Miss, he said.
Can I help you, she said. Her eyes not agreeing with her words. He felt more foreign than ever.
I need boots.
You gonna be doing some hiking?
I got some traveling to do.
Oh fun. Her voice without color. She looked over the display of boots, small hand to her chin, the portrait of the thinker. How about these day hikers, she said. She held a pair of indifferently soled boots of Chinese manufacture.
No, just give me the best. I got money.
One of our premium boots.
Where I’m going you can’t just walk into a store, buy another pair.
Well we have a great return policy here.
I ain’t coming back this way.
You can mail them in, people do it all the time.
Darling I wish I could but these are likely the last boots I’ll be buying.
For the first time she scrutinized the Traveler. Her wide eyes considering a world not yet illuminated to her. Clouds lifting, a vast plain before her. People seem to like these, she said. She lifted an Italian hiking boot from the display and offered it to him. He accepted the offering with the quiet solemnity of a pilgrim. Between them the briefest flash of understanding. Two humans washing down a river. Somewhere ahead a white roar.
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