She was not sure when he'd changed, started hating her. She thought about the sarcasm in his voice the last time they'd spoken. "I don't understand why you're mad at me and won't let this go," she said silently to his remembered back. She knew he'd never answer 'cause she never asked him. Every time her mouth opened to lash back at him for his childishness or cruelty the words froze silent in her mouth. I can't hurt him by saying that. She imagined him the only person in the world she was unable to honestly confront. But it was just her imagination, she continually stifled angry truthful words. Closing her eyes she breathed deeply the arid air making her nostrils burn dryly. "I'm not here anymore," the woman said to the man driving. He looked at her confused. "I'm not here anymore and neither are you." "I'm exactly right here," he replied annoyed. "I know, but you're not you and I'm not me anymore," she said sadly.
"I'm not scared of anyone or anything right now, what about you?" she asked him cautious. He just looked at her with a perplexed frown. She looked at the smoke billowing toward the moon the coal plant looming ominously on the horizon. "I'm tired, lets find a hotel. And for once do you think we can stay somewhere nice?" "It's not MY fault, you're the one with all the weird requirements!" he responded defensively. "It's a challenge finding a nice hotel room with an outside door and close in parking space in a little town with not many choices." "Fine! Forget about the outside door, but the room needs to be on the ground floor with a good view," she responded curtly. "And someplace with room service!" she growled at him as he parked and began walking into a hotel they'd passed a few minutes before.
She looked around noticing a suited man with a rolling black briefcase bag getting quickly into an oddly marked black van. That's weird she thought to herself, noticing an edge of fear about him. He looked like a diplomat to her with his black perfectly cut hair and tailored suit. She did not expect anyone quite so tidy in this remote town. She looked at the smoke knowing why he was leaving like his life depended on it, then glanced at the child sleeping peacefully in the car seat. "I love you, I'm sorry. This was supposed to be a vacation," she whispered to the sleeping form.
The man who wasn't himself anymore unload the car, while she held the sleeping child. She laid the child on the bed, taking in the hot tub and neatly placed white towels. "I'm hungry, do you want anything from the bar? They don't seem to have room service this late." She padded quietly on bare feet to the bar envisioning stealthy ninja's and faded Kung Fu movies. The men seated to one side watching late night TV and chatting looked at her like they'd never seen a woman invade there male domain in search of milk and cookies. She briefly imagined a Turkish Turban and raised her chin in an angry defiant parody of the Saudi Princess of her imagination. The One her childhood friend had extolled her about if she should ever marry him! Perhaps the parody was more of her childhood self, as she glared at the boy and said "Well, if you're going to chop my head off for looking at another man, then I won't marry you EVER!"
The men got up quickly and left while she turned to the tall blond dressed more like a secretary than a barmaid. The woman's thoughts were as obvious as her smirk and question of what room to bill it too. The flat cold ninja stare and lifted eyebrow invaded her face like a whirlwind as she paid the woman with a bill instead.
They'd been happily married for several years, she'd walked in carrying their child and she still got THAT look. The same damn look of some stranger's assumptions. Her fair face and his weather-beaten sun damaged one seemed to provoke instantaneous comment. Bizarrely, the thought dissolved some of her anger at him. She took the snacks the woman handed her. Then she smiled, diffusing her own annoyance.
Back in the suite, she gazed out the window looking at the smoke and wondering if she was going to be able to sleep. A voice echoed in her head "Someone STOLE my room! SOMEONE STOLE MY ROOM!" She looked around searching for the strange echo and looking at her sleeping husband and baby. A smile tickled the edges of her mouth as she imagined a turbaned sultan storming into the room with saber drawn ready to oust the interlopers. "Sorry," she whispered. She closed her eyes remembering the last conversation she never had, "Keep going!"