Big top - part 5

     Slim and Angel didn't discuss much at all until they reached Tylor Texas. Then they briefly discussed  the worrisome pains Angel was experiencing in her back, her hips, and deep down inside.
     "... And every time I go to pee, there's a little blood," she said in a trembling voice.
     "What's it mean, Angel?" asked Slim. "Is it unusual?"
    "I don't know, Slim. We better get me to a doctor once we reach Louisiana."
    That was about it. The two were busy with their own thoughts, drawing worried pictures of reality in the clarity of the bright southern skies. It was hot. The vinyl in the car blistered and filled the thick air with burning urgency. 
     Angel tried to fix her thoughts on what she might find familiar in Louisiana, with a baby, looking for work as the Family Gus. She chewed on her lip, rubbed her belly and listens to Slim grind the gears of the old ford. She pictured herself up on the wire, perfectly balanced, at home with herself, somewhere high and far away.
     "The pain is worse," she told Slim.
     "We're nearly there," he said. "Should we stop somewhere here, get some help, or go on?"
        Angel winced. "Lets go on."

     Angel got out of the car at a rest stop just short of the Louisiana state line. Slim watched her long shadow stretch and feather under the strength of the setting sun. Slim traced that shadow as it slipped across the packed earth, felt it tremble, and for an instant recognized the subtle shift in its shape that betrayed the geometry of time,  the complexities of space. He watched her sandals snap at her narrow heels as they groped after that shifting shadow. Sorrow overwhelmed him, frightened him, diminished his anger long enough to allow him to recognize that he hadn't felt sad in a long time. A very, very long time. Slim wept alone in the car and later, after Angel had limped slowly from the shadows of the darkened rest stop with  one hand cradling the pain in her abdomen, they wept together before heading for the border, just the two of them.
     "I'm sorry," said Slim.
     "I'm sorry too,"said Angel.
     "We just gotta keep trying," he said.
     "We will, Slim. We will."


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