"Write every day the best that you can, and finish what you start."
He saw the beauty of the car in his mind's eye even before he turned the corner spilled from the doorway into driveway.
Long, sleek black and slippery in the wind.
His own legs were raw, wiry and rubber at the thighs from the deep tissue massage she had graciously, deliciously, routinely and expertly inflicted past the doorway and within the danker bowels of her country house basement.
Years distant, when they were in love, he had wrestled that too from the bony grips of her first and only plaintiff lover. And, believing as we all must at the start, dropped its clear title like a sugar-glazed game marble into the creases of her lap which meant her thighs which rhymes with sighs and things men mistake for dreams of.
Once past perhaps an hour into it he had opened his eyes and seen her from far away at the foot of the toweled massage table, her own eyes rolled open wide and white and unseeing past the lids, her hands like desperate tendrilled twins torn alone and hopeless working his feet, the soles, then the calves and on, and on, and on.
She was thin now, more even than when just past her nineteenth birthday, but harder, leaner, with muscles damp and ripped open just beneath the paper.
Her long red hair fell wild like a desert tumbleweed and she swayed, wild at the hips, her knees bent, the foreign music chanting.
Strong clay and pottery hands. Hands trained in Thailand and in China and in smoke-filled rooms above dust-flaked pool halls and church basements.
They had been lovers once.
"How was your day?" she would say. He taught her to stop saying "frisky" when she wanted sex. Which, in the beginning, seemed like all the time.
That was years ago. But they persisted. He as much as her now. Past the alcohol fueled nights of sex and even past the savage betrayals and thin flat-lipped dismissals of everything.
The pictures. Her with the Dolphin in the Maui Beach House pool. Her here. Her there.
It was still a tight fit even for a two-seater.
The long black asphalt driveway greased the way outgoing and softened the long drive West.
"Finish what you start." Said Hemingway.
"Blacken your page." Recanted Cohen.
Don't ask why. Said no one ever.
"Don't ask why."