imageLisa Moore Ramée

Rachel waited in the sun; a suitcase rested behind her. Streams of sweat glided down her back; soon her dress would be soaked. Her hair had sucked in humidity making her curls disappear into frizz. Her nose and cheeks were burning and she knew they would hurt tonight. She had a purse on her shoulder but the strap kept slipping to her wrist, making the purse swipe the road.

The air was cotton and the road was mud. Rachel went up and down on the balls of her feet to keep her legs from stiffening. Her sandals and anklets were covered with road. She didn't bother to smile, as there were no cars in sight. She moved one leg back to touch the suitcase.

Rachel had packed clothes, toiletries and a book of poetry. Her purse was aggravating her so she put it on top of the suitcase. Inside the purse was $235.72 and the number of a man who had told her she had potential. He had a gold smile and a crook in his walk. The girls liked it when he came in the bar because he tipped with dollars, not change. He had come into town driving a Plymouth and by the end of the week he seemed to know just about everybody.

"Whatchu doin' in this hole, darlin'?"

Rachel had put her head down when she smiled so he wouldn't see her teeth. "Markin' time I guess. Like you."

"Shit, that ain't my show, darlin'. I'm leavin' tomorra. Y'oughta come wit me."

"Why you want me witchu?"

"Hell, gal, you got what we in the bidness call po-ten-chul. Donchu know anythang?"


He had called her from San Antonio. "You still in that trashcan?"

He couldn't see her but she put her head down when she smiled. "I guess."

"You call me when you wanna get out, now. You hearin' me darlin'?"

"I guess."

She told everybody that she had known he would call. This was special. She was special. She had po-ten-chul.


The sun was putting spots in her eyes. Her dress stuck to the back of her legs. Her sweat was the only air conditioning she could hope for. Her forehead crinkled and her eyes squinted as she tried to conjure up a car. Snakes of heat slithered in the air. Rachel put a hand over her eyes and bent towards the road, straining for a piece of hope. She wanted to sit down but first she had to get someone to stop for her. She put her thumb out even though there wasn't a car to be seen. It was something to do.

When he called, she had hoped he'd be in Las Vegas or Los Angeles or New York City, not Texas. Maybe he was on his way to somewhere better. Like she was.

A glint in the distance became a car and Rachel put a hand on her hip, looked down, and smiled.