“Let’s go there.”
“There.” Marty pointed to the horizon. “That way, as far as we can go. Let’s get out of this town.”
Mel giggled. “Okay.”
“I’m serious, dammit. I’m sick of this place.”
Mel inched her bum over on the railing so that she could feel Marty. “So am I. What’s stopping us?”
Marty put his arm around Mel. “What is stopping us? I mean what the fuck is stopping us? You hate your parents, right?”
Mel leaned her head against Marty’s neck and nodded.
“And I hate my parents. And I hate everybody else in this place. So what’s stopping us?”
Mel intertwined her fingers with the hand Marty had around her. “Nothing,” she said quietly.
“We can pack a bag, one for each of us, and then I can steal my dad’s Toyota. It’ll take us out of state, no problem. And then we’re gone, wherever we want to go. All the way up to Canada if we feel like it.”
Mel nodded. “Okay.”
“I mean, you won’t miss any of your friends, will you?”
“Not if you’re there.”
“I know I won’t. None of them really understand me.” Marty squeezed Mel’s fingers. “Nobody but you.”
He tilted his head and kissed her.
“They won’t be able to find us, will they?” Mel asked.
“Nah, we’re too smart for them. Plus they won’t miss us much.”
Mel thought for a moment. “My mom might.”
“Well, we’ll be too smart for them anyway.”
Marty took his arm back from around Mel and reached into his jeans’ pocket. He pulled out a pack of Camels and removed two with a suave move of his fingers. He put one in his lips and the other in Mel’s lips. With a match, he lit both. Mel breathed too hard and coughed.
“Yeaaaah,” said Marty, leaning on one butt cheek to put the pack back in his pocket, “It’ll be great. No worries, no responsibilities. Just living under the sun and the stars. The way it was meant to be.”
Mel inhaled and giggled as the smoke came out her nose.
“Hey, see, you’re getting the hang of it,” said Marty. “Pretty soon you’ll be blowing some of these.” Marty inhaled sharply, made an O with his lips and tried to blow smoke rings. A light wind blew the smoke away.
Mel giggled. “Pretty soon.”
“Yeah, well, you’ve seen me do ‘em. So, you serious about this?”
“Going. Skipping town, leaving all this bullshit. Forever.”
“Oh.” Mel stopped leaning against Marty and looked out at the horizon. After a moment or two she nodded. “If you want.”
“Well, babe, you’re gonna have to want it too. We’re in this together.”
Mel looked at Marty. “Let’s do it.”
Marty exhaled then kissed Mel. “I’ve never loved you more, Mel.”
Mel giggled, then lightly dragged her cigarette. She frowned into the setting sun. “Marty, how soon will we have an address again?”
Marty put on his sunglasses. “I don’t know, probably not for a while. The world is our address, girly.”
The sun bothered Mel so she looked down. “Oh.”
“Is that a problem, baby?”
“No.” Her mouth twitched.
Marty took a long drag of his cigarette and exhaled slowly. “Gooood.”
“It’s just that… well… Oh, nothing.”
Marty tossed his cigarette, and seeing Mel had hardly touched hers, took it. “If you’re having second doubts, better share ‘em now.”
Mel took out a pack of gum from her purse. She unwrapped a piece and threw it in her mouth, putting the wrapper back in her purse. Marty grabbed it and threw it on the floor.
“You keep too much trash in there. You’ve gotta travel light. Especially now.”
Mel took out her sunglasses and put them on. “It’s just that — how am I going to get my Cosmos without an address?”
“Your Cosmos?” Marty repeated.
Mel looked down and nodded. Her sunglasses started sliding down her nose. They were too big for her. She pushed them back up.
“I know you think they’re stupid, but I like them. They give me something to read.”
“Why do you read them?” Marty asked.
“Well, they teach me how to make you happy,” Mel said.
“I’m telling you how to make me happy. Run away with me.”
Mel nodded. “Okay.”
Marty jumped off the railing and paced a few steps. Then he kicked a metal garbage can near them. It reverberated in the evening air. “Goddammit, why do you always do that? You always say what you think I want to hear, not what you really mean. Why do you always do that, girly? Huh?”
The faint sparkle of teardrops could be seen just below Mel’s sunglasses. “Maybe because you don’t want to hear what I really think.”
Marty looked at Mel’s face and tore off her sunglasses. He shook his head, and turned, as if he wanted to kick the garbage again, but didn’t. Instead he broke Mel’s sunglasses in half and threw them out.
“One day I’ll buy you a pair that fucking fits.”
Mel started bawling as Marty walked away, smoking her cigarette. She covered her eyes with her hands and cried for ten minutes or so. At last she slid herself off the railing and brushed off her bum.
Before leaving she picked up the gum wrapper and put it back in her purse.
Daniel Vineberg is a student at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna, BC, trying to make it in the literary world, one rejection slip at a time.