Written with my Thursday group with the prompts:  she studied her face in the mirror, it was heavy, incredibly crucial, a red balloon landed next to him, settle down, a stranger, who is afraid to live without illusion, one size fits all, I didn’t have the energy for that, what’s in a name, no two’s, enormous, bright purple, transform, rough and ready

Nellie studied her face in the rear view mirror.  A bright purple bruise was blooming around her left eye lid.  It was a heavy blossom, a dark hibiscus, shrouded in afternoon shadow.

She leaned back in her seat and started the car.  The sun was bleeding through the smoke, a red balloon, beckoning her west.  It was incredibly crucial she remain focused this time.  She needed a place to settle down, if only for the night.  The irony was that she’d reached a point where she would trust no one but strangers.  Maybe she was finally willing to let go of her fear of living without illusion.  She no longer had the energy to endure a “one-size-fits-all” kind of community.  She needed to leave and she needed to leave fast.  She drove and drove and drove.

What’s in a name? she wondered as road signs flashed by.  Spanish whispers, Native Californian promises, English language humble brags like Rough and Ready and Smartsville.  Who christened these places?  Who had named her?  Could she choose her own identity?  Call herself something other than refugee or vagrant?  She might be sojourner, observer, student of life, giver of words, of music, of knowledge.  She could be more than a bringer of shadow and grief.  Couldn’t she?

She reached the top of a hill and the road widened.  Below her was the enormous sea, the Pacific Ocean.  Here was a name!  She could call herself Pacific, Serenity, Pax.  Here was a call to transformation, a place to surrender her divided heart.  No longer two, she would seek union with the landscape.  “Now I am one,” she said aloud.

Photo by TM on Unsplash

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