Highway 80 west stories. Part five. Conversation with Lana.


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Highway 80 west stories. Part five Two days in Salt Lake city. Conversation with Lana.

A Chapter by Coyote Poetry

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My traveling tale. I left the war and took a 12 days road trip from Michigan to Monterey, California in 1992.

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                                 Highway 80 west stories. Part five. Two days in Salt Lake city.
Conversation with Lana.
Me and Lana walked near the water. She would take her gloves off and feel the cold of the water. I knew what she was doing. She wanted to feel alive. The cold salt water awoke a dead part if you are lucky. We sat in my truck. Lana asked. “Is the next stop Reno?”  I told her. Yes it is and you will be with your sister soon. She looked to the vast whiteness of the land near the water and turned to  me and questioned. “When do you report to Fort Ord?” I told her in seven days. I have a lot of time to explore still.”  She took my hands and asked. “Lets stay here in Salt Lake for a few days. Maybe I can figure what I want to do and need.” I told her okay.I paid for two nights at the Holiday Inn in downtown Salt Lake. The people were very kind. Well dressed and polite. You could feel the calm and peace in them. I wondered how such a place could survive in the chaos of the USA. I left Lana in the room to get clean-up and she called her sister. I found  two things to do tomorrow. The Salt Lake Temple and to find some good food.  I went back to the room. Lana was ready and looking very beautiful. I told her after I clean-up. We will go to the Bayou Inn. Good beer and music. She smiled and whispered thank you.

We arrived at the Bayou Inn. A friendly large man directed us to the bar. He told us. If you are hungry. The food is very good. We thanks the man and found a seat near the stage. Tonight was some old-time jazz type music. My favorite kind of music. Nothing better than live music played with skill. Lana was looking at the Bayou Inn. I know it reminded her of her home. Boston had many good pubs and drinking holes. The waitress, a young pretty girl came up and asked what we wanted. I told her I wanted the Cajun platter and a large cold beer. She recommended the house brew. I accepted. Lana wasn’t so brave. She selected a hamburger with fries and a Long Island ice tea.

We sat in silence for a while. I saw in her eyes. Memories swimming in her head. She asked me. “We believe love is forever and one day. Someone who loved us is dead. Why do we love at all? I went to school for four years and couldn’t find a job. I need a master degree to get a job. I’m so tire of school.”  I pondered her statements and I told her. “I’m ten years older than you. This is change four for me. I served in the military. I went to school and I worked for ten years for big business. Today I’m sitting with you because of death and bad luck. I’m going to be station in California. My oldest dream coming true. I’m able to write, travel and test life. I have more things to be pissed off for than good. I buried three brothers in early graves. I tried to drink myself to death. Wasn’t enough booze to kill me. Today I’m with you. Maybe it was our destiny to land on Highway 80. I have been saved often. My good friend Leona saved me from my 30-30 many times. I joined a war to get killed. Just taught me I needed to live. I made 33 year somehow. You are young. No rush to get your master degree. I wouldn’t wait too long. Education give you opportunity and please stay away from assholes like your boyfriend was.”

The waitress brought the food and asked if we needed anything else. I requested another cold beer. She smiled and told me. Be right back. Lana ate her food slowly watching me enjoy the Cajun food. She told me. “I’m done with men for a while. Except for you. I know you are trying to be a gentleman. You are acting like my father. Hiding fear and disappointment. Giving me strength and hope. He was dying and tried to tell me what you said. I had to go on. My dear father left me a large sum of money. One reason the dickhead boyfriend wanted to take me to Reno. My sister promised him some money. I need a long vacation. Maybe a few months in Monterey with you and I will return to school. My father told me the same things you said. Life is change. All things happen for a reason. Would you mind a friend for a while. I will tried not to be dead weight for you.”

I told her. We will discuss this topic after we get to Reno. We are still strangers. Monterey is far away and you are young and beautiful. Educated and with income. An old Soldier would slow you down. We will travel slow and easy. Maybe stop in a few Nevada places to lose some money. You can decide what you want to do. Monterey is costly and very beautiful. I would love to become more with you. I know when you rush into the fire. Sometime the heat isn’t the same. Today you need me. Tomorrow you may need more.”

Lana took my hands and whispered. “You are too kind. I’m not so innocent. I see in your eyes. The concern and desire for me. Thanks to you. I feel better. My father would have liked you. You have more concern for me than for what you want. I went to college and know what is right and wrong. I know you are alright. “She reached over and gave me a kiss on the forehead, my face cheeks and lips. She smiled and asked. “Are we going dancing tonight? I have my tight jeans on and cowboy boots . I want to drink another Long Island ice tea and do some country two stepping with my cowboy.”  Old Johnnie smiled and said. “We will find a good dance hall tonight my Lana.”

Coyote/John Castellenas