Him, her and the poem

She had been scribbling furiously for about two hours. They sat on the side of a forgotten road, waiting out the rainstorm that had bombarded them for the past hour. It had been morning since they passed the last town and they were both hoping and praying another would be around the next corner, maybe three corners at the most. But neither of them could see with the rain so they soon pulled over to wait it out. To save on gas, they had turned the van off. There was no music. No conversation. She wrote. He occasionally drummed his fingers on the steering wheel until she asked him to stop, getting more adamant with each request – she had made seven.

He looked around for something to read, but found nothing of immediate interest. He had read just about everything in their current collection and gone through the two issues of Wired about three times each. He even sifted through the August issue of Vogue.

His next search was for food. Sometimes boredom did get the best of him and he would look for something to snack on. He tried not to let it happen too often. Unfortunately, though, he found nothing. They would have to restock at the next town too. With nothing else to really search for, he sat in the driver’s seat, staring out at the driving rain, twiddling his thumbs, an action that surprised him. Who twiddles their thumbs anymore?

“Ok. I’m done. Wow, it’s really raining,” she said looking up from her notebook.

“You’re just noticing? Why do you think we pulled over?”

“We’ve pulled over?”

He sighed.

“What have you been writing anyway?”

“A poem.”

“Can I read it?”

“No. Maybe. I don’t know if it’s ready.”

“How else will you know unless you get someone else’s opinion?”

“I guess.” She sat for a moment, contemplating the potential results of reading it and not reading it.

“Ok. But no making fun!”

“Promise.”

“Alright. It doesn’t have a title, so I’m just reading from beginning to end.”

“Ok.”

“Ok.”

Somewhere he sits –
(generic) no name who
enjoys his women dark-haired
and dark-eyed, eclectic –
his music odd and
underground –
his gin dirty, his whiskey straight –
he sits writing
profound poetry of the soul
just around the corner from the diner
you want to frequent
and on the night they ruined
the blueberry pie,
you walk around the corner

He paused, waiting to see if that was the end.

“So?” she asked.

He waited even longer, thinking about the poem, what it meant, and the way her voice changed to something deep and subtle when she read it, like she had finished smoking a cigarette and a glass of bourbon in a smokey bar at night. He wanted to applaud, but thought the confined space of the van and the lack of other people, a bar, and a stage would make it seem like he was mocking her.

“Say something,” she said, almost pleading.

“It took you two hours to write that?”

“Yes. Why?” Her voice was guarded, ready to strike at any insult.

“It’s good, that’s all. I’ve heard most people read good stuff after working on it for days, weeks, sometimes even years.”

“Well, it’s not finished. I’m sure I’ll find something to change down the road.”

“The literal road, or the metaphorical one?”

“Maybe both.”

“Ok.”

They sat and looked out the window. It had stopped raining.

“Look, it stopped raining! Let’s go find a town!” she said pumping her first into the air, slightly though so as not to punch a hole through the van’s interior ceiling.