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Headed East - Sylvia Montesinos

Headed East - Sylvia Montesinos

Acrylic, Ink, and Graphite on Canvas

24" x 24"


Failure to Communicate

Brianne Gazal


I tugged lightly on the hem of my husband's jacket, but he kept talking. A moment later, he turned toward me, expression blank, as if I had suddenly appeared. For the last five minutes, I listened as my husband and our business partner devised a plan to reopen in a new location. 

To me, the dream was dead. 

“Walk me out,” I said, holding onto his jacket sleeve. The linen crisp from too much spray starch, the fabric snow white from hours of soaking in bleach and hot water. 

Out of earshot from the parking attendant, I said, “Let’s go back to Miami.”

“Why would we do that?” 

“Because it’s not working here.” I glanced over at the pick-up truck; white paint rusted out. Windows rolled half down, allowing the Texas heat to escape. “We have nothing left.” All our money lost in the shuttered restaurant.

I stared at the red brick of the building that once held our dreams, now angry from the relentless 100-degree temperature. The awning faded from the fierce sun. 

“It’s over. Please let’s go together.” 

“Over?” he looked away, his gaze focused on passing cars. “I have a reputation. This is only the beginning.”

Beneath his embroidered name, perfectly scripted in red, a pack of cigarettes peaked out of his breast pocket. I reached out, but he got to them first and pulled out two cigarettes. He lit mine, then his. I glanced down at my watch. 

“This place is going to destroy me.” 

My husband leaned back on his heels, took a long drag, then flicked his butt toward the street, barely missing an abandoned Starbucks cup. “Don’t be so dramatic.” 

“Don’t be arrogant,” I replied. “What reputation? You could leave today. Forgotten a few weeks later. Start somewhere new, and in no time, be someone wherever we end up.” The heat from the asphalt was seeping through the soles of my shoes. 

“We have a life here,” he said, but I had stopped listening and reached for the truck's handle. The metal was hot, the door heavy, and the vinyl interior sticky. I pulled the towel across the seat before climbing in.

“Where are you going?”

The engine turned over twice before it grumbled awake. I slammed the door and rolled the window down the rest of the way. 

“I can’t do this,” I said as I looked into his bloodshot eyes. He stepped to the side and leaned forward to grab something from the truck’s bed. The parking attendant walked toward us. 

“Are you leaving?” the attendant asked.

We responded simultaneously. 



Confused, the attendant turned and left.

I looked down at the gas gauge and calculated the distance I could go.

“Let’s talk tonight.” He called out over the engine’s roar, but nothing was left to discuss. I leaned out the window and kissed my husband. Two miles later, I took the I-30 ramp and headed east, alone, to Florida.

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