We walked down the dirt road looking for home, looking for ourselves, looking for the prize they promised us. She was sweating, I was thirsty. Beyond us, desolate desert, fire sun, forgotten heaven, hell in the feet, bleeding for us the creeps, closer to death.
“It must be near now,” she said. I could sense her losing her mind from a while back. She had been talking more and more even though this was the sure way to dehydration; her zigzagging walking became irritating, her voice filled me with tears and clutched fingers. I did not speak to her unless it was necessary. “We have been walking for days… my feet hurt, we must be near now.”
No matter where we went, we stepped on tiny, pointy rocks, venomous bugs or rattlesnakes, hidden holes in the ground, or broken bones. We came to believe that they existed there so we would not be able to finish what we had started. I did not care either way anymore but she just would not stop. She needed to step on every one of them so she could prove herself worthy to someone who I knew was no one who she knew was no one but pretended to be someone.
“What are we going to do? When are we getting there? Where are we? When are our feet going to stop bleeding?”
She asked these questions repeatedly and I could sense her smiling all the way through. There was something in the way her skin palpated, the way her veins smelled of putridness that made me realize that she had turned rather unreliable and unstable, as I was, as I imagined. The dirt road went on and on but gave a wide right turn behind some mountains but I knew, and she knew it too but would not say so, what was there waiting for us.
“We can’t let this get to us. We must stick together as friends.”
“We are not friends anymore,” I said surprised at the huskiness and dryness of my voice. So long had I not spoken that I expected my voice to sound as vague and dizzy as I heard it in my mind. She cried, she shook herself, she threw herself to the ground as I watched from afar, too weak and numb to care about her safety. What about my safety was worth any less than hers? I sighed. “Shut up and let’s go.”
She did not answer. She just wanted heaven, she just wanted peace, she just wanted everything and everyone, she needed her prize and wouldn’t leave her life without one. Her bleeding feet in the dirt road, the blazing sun, the blazing hands, the closeness of nightfall, it all blurred together in one long memory of the two us until I decided it was enough. I walked down leaving her behind, desperate, lonely as anyone but me for I am lonelier as I walked down. Her tiny figure tried to catch up to me but I ran more than her, even though w were both feeling the same pain. She tripped at some point and I laughed loud so she could hear me going away. What I needed was water, some trail to leave in the dirt road together with beautiful drops of red paint that she could drink from and follow. She could, should, would find my corpse and realize how foolish she was, how vast the desert had become for me, and how easy it was for us to murder into each other’s arms on the dirt road blood.