Kara shivered in not quite sleep. The fatigue of many miles driven had conspired against her. The rain drummed incessantly in her ears while the cool air of the lakebed country nagged at her body. Her muscles were cramped from too little room in the back of the brown Subaru. Why the hell am I doing this? If time had passed since she had driven off Route 97 south of Lava Butte to rest, she could not tell. She opened her eyes. Water undulated darkly down the windshield, disfiguring the world outside her all-wheel-drive hatchback. Sitting up, she pressed her forehead against the back of the driver’s seat. She shivered. The day had been warm when she’d left Portland.
Hunched in the cramped space, she pulled on a faded white sweater she’d been using as a pillow. She fumbled through a cargo bag for her black cotton tights and put them on. He had given the tights to her, back when she’d been so attracted to him. Am I now? Still? She sighed. Feelings fade. Love lives, then dies. Has it? Her hands rested on her thighs, drinking in the softness of the tights against the hardness of her quadriceps. She had worn the tights around their apartment because he had told her once that they were sexy. His hands would caress them before he’d ease them down around her knees and kiss her tummy, his tongue licking over her groin. Kara shook her head. Not now. She reached for the odd, mesmerizing, frustrating, maddening map. The damn map. She clutched it against her chest, lay back, and closed her eyes.
She longed to stretch. My legs are too long. Why aren’t they retractable? Comfort eluded her. Kara was tall and, depending on whose truth prevailed, either skinny or slender. He’d called her “scrawny” and “too thin” once. No. I’m lean. I’m slender. I’m not “scrawny.” I’m … I’m … god damn it, I’m supple and graceful and slender. I’m fucking hot, damn it. She sat up, pissed. At him. At the map. At the rain. At the cold. At everything.