All you umpires, back to the bleachers. Referees, hit the showers. It’s my game. I pitch, I hit, I catch. I run the bases. At sunset, I’ve won or lost. At sunrise, I’m out again, giving it the old try. And no one can help me. Not even you.
Ray Bradbury ~ Fahrenheit 451: Coda
We made it to the outskirts of Amarillo, Texas. Face had reached his limit. He had no more tolerance for the stories. The arithmetic was not straight. The world was no longer amusing. His wife was pregnant and sick, undernourished and weak, and the center no longer held. Things fell apart.
The Patriarch stopped the metro and we disembarked with our sleeping bags and our backpacks on Interstate 40, a few miles from the Amarillo airport. The metro drove off, leaving Face and I on the side of the highway, staring at the nothing around us. Face stuck out his thumb for a ride.
Presently a car pulled off the side of the road in front of us. I was so desperate for a ride that I hurried to the car, pulled open the door, and planted myself in the back seat with a sigh of relief. The driver had only stopped to change a flat tire. Oops! Nevertheless, he offered to take us to the airport. Face said thank you and helped him change the tire.
The man dropped us off at the Departures gate, and we entered the terminal. I collapsed in nearest seat while Face went in search of a pay phone. He borrowed a dime from a cashier at a coffee bar and made a collect phone call to his parents. (He returned the dime afterward.) Face’s mom answered, and Face explained our situation. He asked if she would send him money for a plane ticket for the both of us. She said she would send him money for a bus ticket instead, adding that the long drive would give him time to think about what he should do.
We hitchhiked to the Greyhound bus depot in downtown Amarillo. There was a Salvation Army within walking distance, so after we purchased our bus tickets, we went there to get some sandwiches. We had not eaten for twenty-four hours.
I remember it was night when we boarded the bus for Fresno. We would not be going to Durango. I was not going to see my family; they were not going to meet my husband. All I knew were those three things were not going to happen. All I knew was that I was heading into a future with a really cute guy who had found his No. No wait! I knew something else. I knew how to crochet during the Apocalypse. We were going to be just fine.