"I don't think a woman's really a woman unless she's a blonde you know?"
My voice tasted salty as I let the words leak out towards no one in particular. I think it's true though; there is something rough about you if you are anything other then blonde, something brooding, dark, wild. Maybe it was just the way that morning had started out, maybe it was the fact that I was on my own for the first time in my life, but whatever it was, I knew that it couldn't last.
Sitting on a bus at six in the morning with sky blue leather seats marked by graffiti wasn't exactly my idea of freedom, but the fact that I would never have to go back, never have to be what I once was, never have to go through what I went through again, well, it made me shiver because I was so excited. As the bus pulled out of my old life, the sun just showing it's head across the horizon, I decided that even if it was stifling, suffocating, deadly, I had to say goodbye one last time. But that's the thing about time, you say goodbye and the next minute it's too late to, everything has passed you by in the blink of an eye. I could close my eyes and before I knew it I would be out, no more, like none of it ever happened. Almost as if it was all made up, existing only in my head.
I can't say where I was planning on going, maybe to the water front, just out, to the city, maybe to the country, I could be anywhere and it would be fine. But this bus was heading towards one place I had not seen in a very long time.

I couldn't believe it, how much he had changed. Or maybe it was that he now knew that I knew and it was the knowledge that crumpled him up like a wounded bird. It was strange, thinking of him as anyone other than Tar. Thinking of him as old, as who he really was. I remember when I was younger, growing up, dancing to the music he would play on stage, never even realizing who he was. As the years passed, as I got sicker, as things got more and more entangled and ripped apart, he took to the desert. My mother would get sad whenever he called, or sent me postcards. He used to send me these little glass things, was it a symbol of the fact that my health was fragile? Or was it that he was trying to say that his love for me and who he really was should have been apparent. Well, I guess it should have.
You could see the resemblance when he was young, but time had passed and looking at him with the faded scar on his cheek shining in the desert heat, it was hard to tell if he was even the same person. When he looked at me, at my tangled mass of hair and wild eyes, he seemed to lose all composure. Without even saying anything, he took his big leather hands and grabbed me by the shoulders, wrapping me in a powerful hug that seemed to last seasons; when really it was only about five minutes. I could hear the beat of his heart through the faded flannel of his shirt as his throat made strange sobbing sounds that reminded me of an animal. He was so different from my mother who had her fast high-strung personality that left me feeling like a skeleton strung on a chain.
There was something comforting about his pain. I tried to remember the last time anyone had ever held me so close, so tight, as if the whole world would erupt if I let go. At home, in the valley by the lake, I had no one. I was loved, well fed, taken care of but there was this distance that was always kept from me after I got sick. It was like my mother was scared that touching me would make me worse; or maybe she was just scared that I'd infect her. It was probably both. But even with so many people in my life, the only one who held me so close was Tar.
" I can't believe it. I can't believe you're here. I-I knew, I heard you were coming, but I didn't think it'd actually happen." Pulling back, his eyes searching me as if for some secret message, I felt my lips tug into a smile. " God, you've grown up. The last time I saw you, you were about up to here on me..and now look at you. It's like seeing into another world."
I felt my cheeks burning, wanting to say something that would let him know that I knew. Something that would fill the hole that was beginning to grow inside my chest. The last time I had actually seen Tar, I couldn't have been more then 12. So many years in between had passed; it seemed we'd both done our share of changing. I still wasn't so very tall, still had to look up to see his face. But knowing that he'd noticed that I had changed, that he'd even recognized me, made it seem ok.

White, everything, the walls the carpet, was white. That white that makes you think of the sand blowing outside, white that makes you think of death. It wasn't what I'd expected. In fact I'm not even really sure what I expected. Was it that I wanted to see something that reminded me of what I used to know? I felt that sour feeling, that creeping. I wanted to go back in time to that old ratty green carpet, to the smell of cigarettes and flannel, to the decapitated baby dolls he had used to make sculptures that seemed to scream my name. I wanted to go back in time to his old apartment in the valley. But here I was, in this immaculate world of white and leather, with the smell of gasoline and heat. I was here and this was who he was now. Besides, he couldn't continue making baby doll sculptures, everyone knows that plastic melts in the sun, permeating the walls with it's awful smell.
"Want some water?" he'd asked, before telling me about his life out there, about the way the heat cleans you,clears you. I felt like saying, yeah, but the sand sticks to your sweat how clean is that? I felt like saying a lot of things, about calling him by something other then tar, something that I never knew I had--something that seemed so foreign when placed upon my tongue.
I wanted to say, remember when you took me to Seattle? To the market where the men threw fish at one another over ice, where men with voices from places I had never known, sold beads and incense? I wanted to say, remember when you played a show there and I was supposed to stay with mom and ride the Ferris wheel because you didn't want me to get hurt? I wanted to say, remember when we came back to la, when you told me about how my first word was la.not L.A. but la, like music and I had always called that home? How proud you were of me, your little freckled child, with eyes that mirrored your own. You said, no one will understand why we do what we do, and that's why we do it.
But I remained silent. I would never call tar by dad, or any other name except tar..and I would never know how to show him who I was. Or would I? And if I did, would it make the journey easier or harder? Because at that moment what I really needed was the truth. Before I left, I needed to know what happened so long ago.