75%(4)3 out of 4 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 209 - 212 out of 256 pages.
“Ma.” Which was a completely unreasonable thing to resent, Iknow, since Turtle called every woman Ma something. There’s noway she could have managed “Esperanza.”We got out at the rest station in Texas Canyon. It turned outthere weren’t rest rooms there, just picnic tables, so I took TurtleGuardian Saints201
behind a giant marshmallow-shaped boulder. Ever since I’d foundout she was three years old, we’d gotten very serious about pottytraining.When we came back Estevan and Esperanza were standingby the guard rail looking out over an endless valley of boulders. Alarge wooden sign, which showed dinosaurs and giant ferny treesand mountains exploding in the background, explained that thiswas the lava flow from a volcanic explosion long ago. Along withthe initials and hearts scratched into the sign with pocket knives,someone had carved “Repent.”The setting did more or less put you in that frame of mind.There wasn’t a bush or tree in sight, just rocks and rocks, sky andmore sky. Estevan said this is what the world would have lookedlike if God had gone on strike after the second day.It was a peculiar notion, but then you had to considerEstevan’s background with the teachers’ union. He would think inthose terms.They seemed uncomfortable out of the car so we stayed onthe move after that, driving down an endless river of highway.After my VW, driving Mattie’s wide white car felt like steering aboat, not that I had ever actually steered anything of the kind.Estevan and Esperanza didn’t have proper drivers’ licenses, ofcourse—that was the very least of what they didn’t have—so tobe on the safe side I did all the driving. The first night we wouldtry to go straight through, pulling over for naps when I needed to.Lou Ann had made us a Thermos of iced coffee. For the secondnight, I told them, I knew of a nice motor lodge in Oklahomawhere we could most likely stay for free.Estevan and I talked about everything you can think of. Heasked me if the alligator was a national symbol of the UnitedStates, because you saw them everywhere on people’s shirts, justabove the heart.“Not that I know of,” I told him. It occurred to me, though,that it might be kind of appropriate.202TH EBE A NTR E E S
He told me that the national symbol of the Indian people inGuatemala was the quetzal, a beautiful green bird with a long,long tail. I told him I had seen military macaws at the zoo, andwondered if the quetzal was anything like those. He said no. Ifyou tried to keep this bird in a cage, it died.Shortly after sunset we left the interstate to take a two-laneroad that cut through the mountains and would take about twohundred miles of New Mexico off our trip. I wished we could keepNew Mexico in and cut out two hundred miles of Oklahomainstead, but of course Oklahoma was where we were going. I hadto keep reminding myself of that. For some reason I had in theback of my mind that we were headed for Kentucky. I kept pictur-ing Mama’s face when we all pulled up in the driveway.