Her voice caught my ear.
“I’m gonna jerk a knot in yer tail!”
I flinched but I took quick notice.
She had a fierce, worn beauty; the kind I seldom see anymore. Those eyes on her stabbed like flashing blades.
The object of her scorn wasn’t yours truly, thank the Almighty. Whoever this poor bastard is, he’s hunkered down into the chair like a collapsed accordion. The air has gone out of him.
He’s gotta be in his late 40’s. He’s clearly a working man; a hardworking fella who spends all day in the Texas sun. The sun-spackled leather on his face and arms used to be skin. An expression of alarm has lit up his deep set brown eyes.
She’s still at it.
“A snake in a wagon rut is what you are, Henry Lee.”
I’m sitting way too close to this domestic turbulence for my comfort. I’m pretending to be invisible so I might observe without being observed.
She is hungry-thin; cheekbones and jaw firmly set, catching the light and casting prize-winning shadows. A black and white photograph of her would look damn near the same as a colored one.
“I ain’t gonna be no hummingbird on your string, Lulu. Leave me be. I ain’t drunk no more. I’m dryer than a popcorn fart.”
I’m wondering what language these strange folk are speaking.
The man is more or less gathering himself up into a ball of courage as he speaks. He un-slunk himself out of the seat and stands like he wants to bolt and never stop running.
I let my eyes shoot a few flicks askance. I know I’m going to be writing about this any minute now. Folks such as this are way better than crows and less likely to steal food.
The woman is wearing jeans. Old ones. She’s got a figure like a retired rodeo rider--all sinew and no meat to spare. I scan the table next to them. No hats. No guns!
Okay. They’ve gone.
What a pair these were. They ended up kissing like they were getting paid ten bucks a smooch.
As far as I can gather, they drove to Ft.Worth from Sweetwater. It was an anniversary. They ran into some old friends and the man got drunk and neglected her.
She hadn’t put up a fuss around the friends. She didn’t say a word. She waited.
I was the lucky listener.
She let him have it with both barrels until he’d gone through every excuse, angry defense, and finally surrendered with a heartfelt apology.
She got what she’d wanted.
Other than not speaking English (at least Standard English) the two of them should be preserved in the Smithsonian as a throwback to maybe the 1800’s. I could have listened to them talk all day and never grown weary.
I wanted to follow them when they left and see what kind of truck they were in. They weren’t.
An Uber came and away they went!
Now how in hell do you figure that??
One more thing…
His best apology I’ll share with you in parting.
This man put both of his large, leathery paws on the little lady’s shoulders and looked straight down into her cat’s eye marbles. He swallowed hard and she waited for it but good.
“Lulu, without you--I’m as lost as last year’s Easter eggs.”