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Lavina, Montana is beautiful. There are 209 people and one rickety gas station just on the outskirts of town. Nobody has anywhere to be and everyone has something on their mind, and Jack wants to stay here forever. He isn’t sure why he likes places like this, so small and quiet and perfect in their own way, but he’s longing for it. His brother could drive through the entire town in less than two minutes but Jack makes him stop before he can.

He needs to stretch his legs, his back, and he can’t keep going without some fresh air. There’s an old man on a park bench with soft eyes and a sharp, angled face. He looks worn and cold, and the October air has a deep chill to it that’s oddly refreshing when Jack gets out of the car.

“Mind if I sit?” Jack asks. It’s informal, impersonal, but the man doesn’t seem to mind. He nods.

“We don’t get tourists. You must be traveling, passing through.” He knows things, important things, and for a moment Jack wants to ask him every question he’s been dying to find the answer to. But he keeps quiet, keeps his voice low and his eyes lower and lets the man share a story with him about the sea and the sun and the love of his life.

There’s a bitter taste in Jack’s mouth and an ache in his chest that makes him think of his dead wife. When he gets back in the car, he watches the Chevy swallow the road ahead and pretends he’s drowning.

Created: Jul 22, 2010


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