I lie on his couch. It’s my spot now. I’ve spent whole days lying here. The cushions remember the arch of my back and the angles of my arms and legs, so it’s easy to find my place again when I move. He sits at his desk—next to the couch, in front of a laptop—and waits for his phone to ring. He is a businessman. His business is crack. He is always on call . . .
I was fine when I got on the road that morning—a little nervous, but I’d taken two Ativans. The pills were supposed to be strong enough to get me on the plane and all the way across the Midwest to LA. Not like last time . . .
The plain was measureless. Aside from offering the occasional visual cue in the form of a tarweed shrub or boulder, it held no real sense of distance or direction. Further, though Jared felt movement—the rhythmic plodding of his horse sent soft vibrations up through the saddle horn—there seemed a lack of forward inertia. The earth acted as if on a great axle that was slowly spinning in counterbalance to the horse’s hooves. As hooves punched into parched earth, dust gathered around the mount’s hindquarters, and from a distance it appeared as if the animal trod upon a low-flying cloud: the world’s first wingless Pegasus—in flight, yet bound by oppressive heat to the ranks of the lower atmosphere . . .