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Howling Alone In Albuquerque


By Marja Hagborg

Now I know why you moved to New Mexico: You missed your home. When you left Chicago I thought you had lost your mind. But sand and dry grass are as much a part of you as dust and asphalt are part of me.

I missed you so much. I wanted to see you one more time, to hear you speak, to look at your hands. I always loved your hands. And I wanted to see your feet, the most beautiful feet ever. I wanted to hear your voice.

One night I took the plane to Albuquerque. Albuquerque - I can hardly pronounce it! Why do you have to live in a town with a name I can hardly pronounce?

I stayed at the Crossroads Motel and at night I listened to all the sounds: the squeaking wheels of pickup trucks, the barks and howls of dogs, the unceasing hum of traffic on the highways. I was trying to hear with your ears, to taste and smell the bitter night air with your mouth and nose. I wanted to be a part of you.

I had never seen a desert before. One morning I drove west, out of town, over the hills, until there was no living creature in sight. I had always wanted to feel emptiness, emptiness that is not hurtful but makes you feel free. You tried to tell me what freedom is, but I wasn’t yet ready to understand.

For hours and hours I wandered in this new landscape. I walked across the burning sand, the naked stones, the brown grass. I followed the invisible paw-prints of wild animals on the dry soil, dazzled by the colors of the sky and the earth. The only sound I heard was the wind. God, I felt good there between the endless sky and the hot sand; I felt like I had the answer.

I never called you. There was nothing I needed to say. I still wanted to see you though. One morning I watched you when you were parking your car. You were wearing black shoes and holding your keys in your hands. I loved the way you held them before you put them in your pocket. You walked slowly like a sleepy cat. When you opened the door, the wind came and touched your hair and the sun stroked it. It looked like fire.

Marja Hagborg is a Scandinavian-born slacker/artist/writer living in Chicago. A few of her stories have been published in totally unknown magazines.



Top photo courtesy of Freeimages.co.uk.
Bottom photo "City Walker" courtesy of Joseph M.



 


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