She had lived in one of those big houses on the bayou when her parents were still together so she knew the road well enough to guide me through with my headlights off and just the moon for light.
We found a spot without stars over it and it was cold and she hated it. We kept driving by her old house. Where she was happy once but now going near it brought her to hysterics. We would go away for a while but we kept coming back. She liked crying and I guess the crying she did for that house was about the best crying she got these days.
She said it made her feel good for me to come out there too and be part of this ritual. I was always worried that the people who now inhabited the house would come outside and see to the car, idling outside, with the wailing woman inside.
Sometimes, after we had been doing this for a few months, I would go home to her apartment with her and just hold her. She would always ask me not to try to make any moves on her because she was vulnerable and that it would be just rotten of me to pull something like that on someone so vulnerable.
I would just lay next to her and hold her and stroke her hair until she was asleep. It never took long.
One night, I told her I didn't want to drive by her old house and watch her cry anymore. She cried about that for a little while but I just sat in the drivers seat and looked straight ahead. Wouldn't put in drive. Wouldn't go.
She stopped crying after a while and asked me what I wanted to do.
It was warm now and I wanted to be under warm stars in warm wind that smelled like barnicles and spilled oil and sea gulls. I wanted to be near the river where I had been happy once.
Near the river where we could drink beer and smoke cigarettes and watch the water in the dying light.
Near the river where we could talk about ourselves and the river and the stars and the smell of oil. Or is it diesel?
Near the river where we could sing down by the river, down by the river.
We finished a twelve pack. Looking at the water throught the dying of the light and it's burial into the pitch. Side by side, her head on my shoulder. "You're sure a sweet guy."
"You sure are," her voice had taken on a husky, tumescent quality. Her hand ran toward my crotch.
I started crying.
She tried to get my interest but I just stared forward. Stared at the river and cried.
After a few minutes she saw the tears and stopped what she was doing with her hands.
We looked at each other right in the eyes for a few minutes. My tears rolling down my cheeks.
"You want to go drive by my old house?" she asked me.
I nodded in assent.
When I told her I was gay, after we had cried in the car in front of her old house for about two hours, she took my hand and kissed it.
She had really been worried about my ability to restrain myself around her.