Marcus passed Road 238.
Coming out of his reverie, seeing the sign. Green with white lettering. Flying right past the road.
He looked in his rearview mirror, then slowed and turned around. Came back to Road 238 and made the turn, the only direction he could go. Heading up a rise, then over the crest of a hill and down into a valley. Trees thick on both sides, sunlight flashing between the trees thick with green leaves. Passing across a bridge that went over a river, the sunlight sparkling on the water, then rising back up another hill. A lot of wild flowers growing on the side of the hill. Should he take her flowers? She said not to bring anything. What woman didn’t like flowers? What woman didn’t like being thought of and being romanced a little? Marcus brought his bike to a stop then put the kickstand down and got off. He didn’t know what kind of flowers they were, what you would call them. Blue flowers and yellow flowers and white flowers. They were just as good, if not better, than the flowers you could buy in the store. Pretty flowers. Marcus collected a whole handful of them then got back on his bike. They made a pretty bouquet, a lot of flowers. If he rode with them like this, in his hand, they might all blow apart. Marcus got back off his bike then put the flowers in his other saddle bag, then got back on his bike and rode again.
After a few more valleys and a few more hills, he came to a driveway with an iron arch over the entrance with “McAllister Ranch” welded into it, just like Janine had said.
On each side of the arch, there were two metal weldings of cowboys on broncos.
Marcus passed beneath it then went up the road which was paved also. Big fields on both sides, cleared of trees. Horses in one of the pastures. A nice afternoon. Beautiful country. The big open skies of Wyoming. A country life. A big piece of land, where she lived, a long drive. Marcus wondered if she lived here all by herself or if her family still lived with her, and then it came to him and he knew that she lived here all by herself, that her family was gone. Two parents, a single child. Her hair more strawberry red when she was young. All of that, in a flash, like looking at a photograph and with a certainty of knowing. Wanting to be with her. Wanting her to want him. Wanting that certainty.
Would she want him?
Would they have that connection?
Like that was his default question, the way he’d been bounced around. Marcus knew where it came from, he could see that, but it was still also there within him. The way none of the foster parents wanted him around after awhile because they just found him weird. Disconcerting. The way he’d just been so sad and depressed when he was young. So blue and not even understanding it himself and just being quiet and sullen and keeping it all to himself and staring because he could see what nobody else could see, just staring and feeling overwhelmed by it, seeing what was going to happen to everyone.
The great loneliness that was within him, he’d been alone for so long.
It was funny how he couldn’t see things, see the future, when it came to himself.
Marcus was excited about Janine and he was tired of being lonely and alone and he hoped that things would work out between them.