Dust kicks as tires weave through random parkings in search of idealism. We find it in the front row - neglected and ignored - near perfect symmetry to the screen. Sighs and settling, blankets and mosquito swatting. Here is retro joy. Fireflies dance in light beams. Pictures move against patchy boards - decades old - a thousand stories told.
And as the tale is spun and children nestle in the bed I've built in the back of the Passat, memory tiptoes back to that moment - almost thirteen years now - when wedding day met wedding night in the slum beside the Drive-In...
It was nothing like I'd imagined - sweetheart dreams of whispered tenderness and white linens through rose coloured glasses - these eyes that saw myself peel back layers of bedroom carpet and swipe my Sharpie across the underlain linoleum in dances of poetry, saw too the promise of forever in his face - as sure and loyal as any holder of a glass slipper - he would see to it's perfection. My only job was in the beauty.
When night falls upon us - after a weary, perfect day was swept beneath us in a final Savage Garden testimony (because we were counting on a new beginning) - my bare feet cross gravel and grass to where we've hidden the car and I turn to him in heightened expectation. "So, where are we going?"
Midnight passes. I drift on my mother's sofa while he calls through Yellow Pages. Last minute leaving only one option. This is what $30 and Grey Country neglect gets you. Motel 70. As picture perfect as it sounds. Tiny and dusty. Cobwebs over the lumpy double, mattress groans and rust stained sink. I am a vignette between dark corrosion on the mirror as I pluck baby's breath from limping curls. Linoleum peels against the base of the tub, a dripping tap our serenade. And he - baby-faced goofy grin and a pat on the quilted covers...I've got you now!
I am but a child, baby-bride giggles beneath whispers of promise. I dress myself in Mrs and blushes and we fumble and laugh until joy-tears spoil careful makeup, until exhaustion finally clutches us to herself and rocks us off to sleep beneath this homely quilt that smells of must and love and our farthest care doesn't touch this slum - doesn't touch the dirty carpet or the filthy fan or the insect carcasses on the sill or the smoke-stained peeling wallpaper - because home is where the heart is and he is my forever home and this slum can't touch us where we are because where we are is perfect and it is our forever and it is our home.