Non-Fiction, Travel

AMERICA | Phoenix

but not Phoenix, really. Fountain Hills, a retirement community a few miles out.

John is nature. He works at the assisted living home. He works to live and his work is for those who are done working.

Sandra worships the sun and got married in a yellow dress. She hates dogs.

Vada’s wedding photo. That’s the dress she got married in and she’s holding a little cake. They were worried Rex was going to get shipped out, so they went and got married the next day. I think about marrying someone out of the dire need to make love before saying goodbye and I think about ___________—although we never made love.

I had a dream about my grandmother last night. I only realize this while looking at Sandra’s reflection on the patio table. Upside down, she looks just like Lula Jean. In my dream, she was driving me somewhere. She was younger, and I remember thinking how relieved I was to know that I had more time. We talked and she laughed as she drove us down the snowy road.

Elaine said Manny Pacquia and Than said Donald Duck. Who did Andrew say? I can’t remember. Marie said Coco Chanel and the guide didn’t know who that was. I can’t remember who he said. It may have been someone fictional. I’ll have to ask next time we talk to him.

Sandra shows me more pictures and gives me two to give to my mother and brother. Here’s on of Lula Jean standing. I’m always struck when I see one of her standing [she lost the ability to walk after surviving polio in her youth]. Sandra leafs through more photographs and pauses at one. And I remember Travis saying he wanted one of dad in his uniform. There he is [from right to left, she points]: Rex, mom, and Jack.

I go to the bathroom and shut the door. I would not choose to have dinner with Bill and Hillary Clinton, or Jesus, or Elfriede Jelinek. I start to cry, because I know now that I would choose to have dinner with my grandmother.