“The best way to stop ‘looking for America’ is to find it.” It’s a party and the girl is drunk. When she says it people nod knowingly. He’s thinking of New Mexico and how the roads and the land would lay flat for miles. How it looked so open but was lined with cattle fencing and private property signs. So he says, “That’s god damn right, you get to that beacon on a hill and it’s lighting a billboard.”
They all laugh politely and drink.
She’s blonde and brown at the roots and they talk the rest of the party. She hates her father and tells him she doesn’t like talking about him. Then she talks about him. She tells him she feels abandoned by him.
“Did he abandon you?” he asks.
“Emotionally at least,” she says coldly. And she’s quiet for a bit. But she’s forgiving so she asks, “Do you like the Beatles?” And he says, “yes” because everyone likes the Beatles.
Eventually the party breaks up and some mutual friends they have say they’re going to a diner.
They say they’ll go with them, but on the way to the diner, she says, “let’s go.” He says OK. And when the street empties out she kisses him. He pulls her toward an alley and she pulls him toward the ground.
The street lights make things yellow and the darkness looks purple by contrast. The dark is thick and looks soft like a blanket but he can feel pebbles cutting his legs and his arms through her hair. He worries about her back but only briefly and the purple suddenly seems black and the air has a chill and a smell. Then the color of the light doesn’t matter as much as the walls and signposts it’s lighting.