Last Will in Testament
Glancing in the rearview mirror, I watched as the cigarette ashes bounce red against the road behind me. The empty mile-long stretch of deserted highway reminds me of the reason for the trip. The past years, I’ve been ostracized from a man who, many days as I grew up, beat me for the mere fact that I breathed easy while his was labored. Now I drive toward the coast, my childhood home, in the car my dad bought new off the showroom floor the day I was born. A few decades ago I registered the car as a historical, cost me half my paycheck. A measly sum really, for a few hundred words about a murder in Southeast Washington. Today it wouldn’t buy the six Starbuck coffees I ingest daily. I inherited the 64½ candy-apple red mustang convertible on the day I found out the man whose funeral I am to attend tomorrow was not my biological father.
Another hundred miles. I reach into the breast pocket of the tweed jacket strewn on the passenger seat and pull out the Marlboro man, lighting my next fix before mashing the remains of his pack mate in the overflowing ashtray. A grunt escapes before I can stop it. A grey hair lies on the shoulder of the jacket, another sign of the passing years. I imagine a beautiful woman sits beside me, strokes my ego, but instead, I drive solo. The last intern quit before the ink on her application was dry, figuratively speaking. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, echoes through my head as if I’d been the one to say the words, not the one to write them into an article for a major metropolitan newspaper.
I could fly free, perk of the job, but somehow I think the car a more fitting return. Mother is sure to roll over in her grave and grandmother, spit at my feet. Wouldn’t be the first time. She makes it a point to remind me each time I’m in her presence that I am a disappointment and single handedly destroyed her favored son. Not that I was the one who slept with two men, marrying one only to find out the child she carried, me, was his brother’s. Nor was I the one to splash the headlines destroying a mediocre hope of a political career. My byline meant nothing at the time. I was less than a pageboy and though I lacked the proper emotion of embarrassment, those I had were dismissed as inconsequential.
I’m not even sure why I feel compelled to show. No one that matters is alive, but I am drawn like a moth to flame, wanting, needing to see the spectacle. The likelihood that I’ll have to crash the gates for a slim look at the man is not only probable, but near guaranteed. Fodder for my second novel, already promised to be a New York Times best seller as I expose more of the angst that is my ancestry. Perhaps.
about the author
Lori Lopez is a military wife, mother, and postal mechanic, who manages to eke out a novel or short story now and again.