Lyssa sat on my sleeping bag and passed the joint. It was nice sitting on that hillside, watching the sky redden. The hills got darker and darker as the light faded. The air had that crisp smell, half dirt and half something else that always felt like memory.
I cupped the joint and passed her the roach. She fumbled it then shrugged. “I’m done,” she said and looked directly at me. “Well, aren’t you going to ask?”
I put my arm around her without thinking, tied up in the smell of earth. She kissed differently than Matisse. She shivered a little, so I motioned for her to stand and unzipped my sleeping bag. Matisse and I bought identical ones so we could zip them together. She unsnapped her overalls and pulled off her shirt before she got into the bag.
“There’s another one just like this in house,” she said, “Want me to go get it?”
“Nah. It’s fine.
We got undressed, she in the bag and me mostly sticking out of it. She was shorter than Matisse and rounder and her breasts were way larger. She smelled all different and we couldn’t seem to move together. After a while, she got on top of me, her breasts swinging in my face. I flashed on it hitting my nose and smiled.
“Are you laughing at me?” she said, rolling off to one side. I tried to cover her with the sleeping bag.
“No, I’m really not. It’s been a weird day.”
“You know your precious Stephanie is fucking Teddy. Every night.”
She started pulling on her clothes. “Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…” She shook her head. “Forget it. She was right. You’re like some puppy dog that follows her around.” She pulled on her sandals and walked back to the house. I thought I should go after her, then wondered why. No reason, so I just lay there.
It was finally warm enough under the sleeping bag and I pulled on my underwear and jeans. It was dark now and the woods were noisy with rustlings and sounds. I listened to them, not really wanting to move, thinking some animal was going to come and eat my toes and not really caring. I heard crashing behind me, getting louder. Bear? Dog? Wolf? Teddy coming for me? I saw a flashlight and heard her voice.
“Danny? Danny, where are you?”
“Matisse? Over here.” The flashlight shone in my face, then on my chest. “What are you doing?” she asked. She got closer and saw the unzipped bag. “Were you? You were fucking Alisa, weren’t you?”
“Lyssa. She was Alisa in high school. Don’t deny it.”
“She told me about Teddy.”
“That’s different. It’s a yabiyum ceremony. It’s not sex.”
“Forget it. I’m out of here in the morning.”
“No,” she said. “We sit in each other’s lap and channel the sex drive toward higher chakras.”
“Are you naked when you do?” She didn’t answer. I tried not to visualize her sitting naked in Teddy’s lap, his no-doubt giant penis between them.
“Yabiyum,” I said. “Right.” I pulled on a tee shirt, then my army shirt. The anti war movement and the military both shop at the same place, John liked to say. He was kind of right—my favorite store was an Army-Navy store. Teddy. I bet his last name is Murphy.
“Danny.” She stopped and, miserable, I looked at her. “Danny, I never had a bad trip. Even the bad parts somehow meant something somehow. It’s just that I get lost in my head now too much. I want to get there on my own. You know what I mean.”
“I do Matisse. I really do know.” And I believed it. “Are you happy here?”
She shook her head. Even in the dark I knew. She started crying. I pulled her head to my chest and rocked her while she shook. “I want to get out of here. Take me away, Danny.”
Yes. Yes. “I will,” I said.
“Now.” I shrugged. “OK.” She got up. “Pack your things, I’ll be back. We can get a bus in Brattleboro.” And she was gone.
I packed everything and waited, wondering if she was really going to come back. I heard her and it sounded too loud for one person. When she found me with the flashlight, I saw Lyssa behind her. “She wants to come, too,” said Matisse. Lyssa looked at me and I turned away, ears reddening. They both had small packs.
We picked our way down the driveway, using the flashlight as little as possible. Matisse led us down the road. “Isn’t Teddy going to notice you’re gone?” I asked. “So?” she said. Still, she made us crouch in the ditch beside the road the couple of times a car went by.
It wasn’t easy picking our way down the road and it took forever to reach Brattleboro. By the time we made it into town, the sky was lightening. The only place that was open was a Dunkin Donuts. We headed there. I had enough money to buy us coffee and donuts and we sat in a booth. We looked like refugees and I had that electric buzz of old adrenaline. We sat there, drinking coffee, too wired to even ask directions to the bus station. I stared out the window at the buildings across the street. Three stories, ornate cornices, they reminded me of Model T’s, celluloid collars, and wire rim glasses which led me to John Lennon and The End from Abbey Road. It kept running around in my head.
“Hey man,” said a voice behind me. I turned and it was the kid who’d given me the lift up to Teddy’s. “Hey. Captain America,” I said.
“Howzit going man?” giving me a soul handshake. “You guys up all night?”
“Yeah, we’re escaping,” I told him. “We’re going to get a bus.” I introduced him to the girls.
“I told you Teddy was intense. Hey, fuck the bus. I’ll give you a lift.”
“Captain America,” I said. “Let’s go.”