Sunday, May 16, 2010


She drove seventy miles already and had about thirty left to go. The car purred softly as she turned cruise control off and pressed down on the accelerator. A billboard on the side of the road said:

get the rest you need at the
exit 46

And that is the exit she was driving to. With every mile she thought of another piece of the town she had long since left. One piece was prominent and it was the purpose of her return.

Janice. said the young woman. My names Janice and sign language is my first language. My brother is deaf, so my parents taught me from birth.

Thats wonderful. said the mother. This happening to Cherie was unexpected, of course. Thank you so much for your help.

Gotta pay for school somehow. smiled the young woman.

She remembered devoting much of her time that year teaching sign language to that worried mother. The mother was raising a deaf child by herself. She often thought she should be doing this for free. She put the money in a jar under a picture of an old building built for young matriculating persons. Saving to become a part of that photographs esoterica. The mother eventually learned well enough to communicate with her baby but would still have to learn more.

She pulled off onto exit 46 and took a right. She didnt know where to start but she did have a last name. She thought that she would start tomorrow. She pulled up to the Sleep Inn and killed the engine. She sat with her hands on the wheel.

After she put everything away in her room she got back in her car and went somewhere that she was never old enough to patronize while she lived there. Now she was old enough by more than ten years. Poseidons was a makeshift beach club in a southern landlocked town. It had a pool and a mermaid who always swam around looking pretty. It started off as a joke a few years prior but turned into a staple; an attraction to the place.

She sat down at the window facing the pool. There was money taped all over the window and she turned to the guy next to her.

Whats the money all about? said the woman.

Tips. replied the man gruffly. For the mermaid. Watch. He slapped a one dollar bill on the window with some tape. The mermaid held up a sign that said:

Thank You!

Whats this girls deal? said the woman.

Who, Cherie? Shes deaf. She does this mermaid gig every night to make money. Its a good job for someone who cant, you know, talk.

The woman swallowed and looked out the window. She reached in her purse, fished out a business card and wrote: I want to send you to school. on the back. She taped it to the window and the mermaid held up a sign that said:

Thank You!

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