Continental Divide

We are in low gear hauling ass over the pass. By ass I mean the pickup with the pop-up strapped on top, including the steel reinforcing beams and stone tile that Huey laid down in there, nice looking but heavy as an awkward pause, plus five gallons of water and the stove and Mr. Buddy Mini Heater and two days’ worth of jeans and gorp and junk like that. We approach the divide and the truck growls at a higher pitch. A couple hairpin turns, the back end of our haul rocking on its tires, then a little metal sign, white reflective paint on Forest Service brown: CONTINENTAL DIVIDE. All the blood in my body plus the sauce from a can of beans and 16 ounces of blue raspberry Slurpee lurch from back to front. The water behind my eyeballs shifts from east to west, sloshes from the backs of the sockets right up to the eyelashes.

“Huey, didja feel that?”

She shakes her head. “Nah, what?”

Nah, nada? But Hue… if we flew past the tinfoil guard rails and off the road, if we were to drain, now, our five gal and Slurpees and any personal juices would drain to the Pacific, not down the Missouri River watershed eventually joining the Mississippi and a whole lot of other pollutants flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. We’d be Hawaii-bound, not Caribbean. We’d hang with the volcanic, not the hurricanic. A drop of the newly forward saltwater pooling in my eyelashes jumps off and hits the map unfolded in my hands. I look at the red dotted line there, the line we just crossed, then look at her.

“Ah, nothing.”

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