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                “The Left Turn”
He had already been driving,
Well over 6-hours without stopping,
When he pulled into,
A rundown,
Back roads gas station,
That was in the middle,
Of the California dessert,
Somewhere between L.A. and Vegas.
He’d be in Vegas by now,
If he had just driven,
Straight towards it.
But he had spent,
The first 2-hours of this drive,
Just taking right turns,
Throughout the city of Los Angeles.
Then he found himself,
Heading South,
Towards Santa Barbara,
In till he decided that,
Santa Barbara was much to tame,
For the state of mind,
And severed heart,
He had riding shotgun with him.
This whole improv drive,
Had begun with one simple choice.
He had gotten off work early,
And where he normally takes a right turn,
To head towards home,
He took a left turn.
She wasn’t expecting him,
He never got off work early,
But today was going to be special.
He had finally realized,
What was missing in his life,
And it was her.
She was his world,
His life,
Which is something,
He had never said,
Or felt,
About a woman,
Or anyone else for that matter.
They had been seeing each other,
For almost 9-months.
But for him,
It was a life time.
He’d tell you,
His life had never really began,
In till he met her.
He felt so strongly about this,
That he just had to tell her,
To her face,
Right now.
So instead of taking that right turn,
And heading home,
To his happy life,
He went left instead.
He pulled up to the curb,
Across the street,
From her 3-bedroom home.
He was looking at the lemon tree,
They planted 3-months ago,
Which had already,
Begun to die,
When the front door opened.
She stepped out,
On to the porch,
He was just about,
To call out to her,
When through the open doorway,
A man stepped out,
Stood behind her,
And softly pulled her body,
Back against his.
He was in shock,
Couldn’t move,
Just sat their staring at them.
Was she ok?
What was happening?
And just as those thoughts,
Raced through his head,
Still facing forward,
Reached behind herself,
And without turning around,
She put her thumbs through,
The belt loops of his jeans,
As she roughly pulled him,
Even tighter,
Up against her.
He started to dry heave,
While repeating over and over again,
“Why didn’t I just take a right turn”?
“Why didn’t I just take a right turn”?
“Why didn’t I just take a right turn”?
He dropped the car into drive,
Pulled away from the curb,
He wasn’t going to look,
But couldn’t stop his head,
From turning in their direction,
And at once,
He regretted that decision.
He could see them engaged,
In the kind of kiss,
No man would walk away from.
He made a right turn at the corner,
As she led the man,
By the hand,
Back inside,
Closing the door behind them.
It took him a full hour,
Before he fully realized,
He was still mumbling,
“Why didn’t I just take a right turn”?
And driving aimlessly,
Throughout the city,
Of Los Angeles,
One right turn,
At a time.
Now he sat,
In the middle of the desert,
Gas tank almost empty,
The sun for this day,
Buried behind a full moon,
That’s playing its role,
For tomorrow’s new start,
By hanging high above the desert plains.
He got out of his car,
Leaving it parked beside the pump,
They didn’t open till 7am,
So he just started walking,
Straight into the wide open desert.
It seemed flatter than he remembered,
He went about as far,
As he could go,
To where the light,
From the gas station,
And moon above,
Sort of ended,
And the stars,
And blackness of the desert beyond,
Took hold.
He sat down,
With his back to the light,
Peering into the ever changing,
Swirls of night.
He felt like he had entered,
Some kind of mystical plane,
Where any question asked,
Would be answered,
If only whispered,
To the wind.
But he couldn’t think,
Of any profound questions,
To challenge the annals of time.
He couldn’t think about anything,
Other than her.
His soul,
Filled with,
The pain of betrayal,
His spirit,
Torn away from him,
By his foolish belief in love.
How could he of allowed himself,
To become so entwined with her,
To leave himself so open,
To such a brutal attack,
Of the heart.
He listened to the summer breeze,
But no answer came forth.
He grabbed a weathered stick,
Up off the ground,
And in the sand he drew,
A large 2-foot heart,
Then he put both their names,
In the center of it.
He looked down at the heart,
Then blankly out into the night,
And the hidden desert before him.
He kept switching,
From one view,
To the other,
As if he was looking for,
Some kind of sign.
As the sun came up,
Following its usual path,
It found him,
Still with stick in hand,
With his head hanging low.
He felt the warmth,
Of the sun,
And begun to open his eyes.
The night time breeze,
Having blown across the sand,
Erasing all traces,
Of the heart,
And the names,
That were written within.
He struggled to get to his feet,
His body stiff and sore.
Once he got his footing,
He slipped on his Ray-bans,
And took a long look,
At all the colors,
The desert was displaying,
In the early light of dawn.
He brushed the sand,
Off of his clothes,
And started to walk,
Back to his car.
It would be 2-more hours,
Before the station opened,
But he had enough gas,
To make it to a 24-hour station.
So he got in his car,
And pulled up to,
The freeway on ramps.
Las Vegas,
Was only 2-hours,
And 1-right turn away.
He took a left turn,
And headed back home instead…
       Tom Allen…03-12-2017…

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`The Left Turn`