last entry for Erin

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The morning after the midnight that Erin Reynolds fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into the Eastbound lane of Highway 2, three pistols went off, and two prepared suicide bottles were emptied of their goods in various locations around the city. This, for a woman who had nothing at all, and knew no-one well, that she knew of.  Troopers reported that Erin may have hit the center-line bumps, startled awake, and then tried to avoid the on-coming logging truck, but that the tread-less tires on her 1993 Escort would not hold the road of the freshly rain slicked mountain pass descending the Cascades.  Local news showed a large bearded man in a red plaid shirt, weeping in fog, his jack-knifed rig in a twist behind him.

“She just couldn’t stop.  I know she saw me.  I seen her face.”

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Erin was working over-time to save her trailer home in Yakima.  This trip, in moon-lit desperation, took her up and down the long and winding mountains twice in one day, there and back; 11 hours total, driving to see a strangers voice on the phone she had never met, who this time knew she was dying for real, and just wanted to talk.  Erin was not the type to say no.  When she slowed life down enough that she might consider such an answer, it simply became too hard to accept her truth in it, and so she had left her second shift job fifteen minutes early, and headed for the pass without a stop for breakfast, just a quick drive-through for $8.00 in gas and a splash of cold only water in a sour green tiled truck stop restroom along the way.  She had waited behind a young and freckled red-haired girl who was washing her underwear in the sink, and by the time she was done with her turn she no longer wanted coffee.

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As they cut the clothes from her body in the Emergency Room, the only thing they found in her pocket was a hastily scribbled phone number on a Kotex wrapper that turned out to belong to the young woman she had met in the restroom, which read: ‘Call Me Please!!!_Kirsten’,  and a worn out cassette tape of John Denver’s’ Greatest Hits in her shirt pocket.  Erin insisted on optimism, always.

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Two Wal-Mart grocery bags survived her miserable estate sale, in foreclosure at the announcement of her death, and officiated  by a reluctant Sheriff who told a reporter:  ‘…I made damn sure the family got something.’  Erin’s young cousin wound up with the tape which he later played by accident instead of Train.  Side B had been recorded over with Erin’s last known communication:

“Have you ever been so tired that you can’t wake up?  And not really sleeping either, you are just lay there and live out the nightmares you usually forget in your dreams…  I’m just up from that -just now.  Richard is still dead, God won’t answer me any more, and there’s nobody here but me.  I wanted so hard to wake up though.  I could hear the cars going by on the wet road out front of my place, and there wasn’t any pictures in this dream, if you’d call it that, I wouldn’t, or don’t, …but I knew who everyone was by the sound of their voices, and Richard was there, and he was saying things that he would never say, and I don’t know right now what is real.”

Then there was the sound of cooking.

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