The wind brought me here.
I’d been running for a long time, and from a lot of things. But that morning, I slowed down—just for a second.
It was windy out, as it tended to be. I stepped out of my motel and just stared down the flat, dusty road like it was something to admire. There was next to nothing out there. A couple of twigs, the sand, the sun. Me.
I squinted into the morning light and shoved my fists into my pockets, thinking about nothing. I stayed like that a good long while, only blinking back into reality when I heard the car.
It was a sleek thing. A spitfire, I was pretty sure it was called. A two-seater sportscar, bright orange. I gotta say, it was one helluva sight.
To me, it looked like dollar bills dipped in fire orange paint. It was so distracting I nearly didn’t see the driver. Until I did.
The car parked, kicking up dust. The driver’s door opened, and out you stepped. You had curly hair, dusty sunglasses, a sporty quarter-zip. You saw me looking and gave a brief wave.
A gust of wind blew by then, tangling my hair in front of my face, and yours too. I stepped forward, in the direction the wind pushed me.
“You don’t own this place, do ya?” you shouted over the distance.
I scoffed and yelled back. “Nope!”
You had the most beautiful smile.
The wind blew again, harder this time, and dust kicked up into my face. I squinted against it, focusing on the orangeness of your car. I looked for your figure among the dust, but sand stung my eyes, forcing me to turn toward the empty horizon. After another second, the wind died down. And when I looked again, you were gone.
I stepped forward, gathering my tangled hair into a makeshift ponytail, as if getting it out of my face would improve my visibility enough to make you reappear.
Instead, it was all flat land. All dust and sky and sand. And that blasted orange car.
Weeks later, and the news reports say that the cops still haven’t found you. Most days I run, but some days, I slow down enough to wonder: what were you running from?