It was a long time before the girls drew apart from each other, and before they had, Delta too had shed several tears. They resituated themselves in their seats, neither speaking. There was no need for it- there was nothing needing to be said anymore. Everything that each had needed to know was out in the open now; talk would only detract from the fragile understanding of each other they now shared, unnecessarily rehashing what neither wanted or needed to be reminded of. It would seem wrong to talk about something no words could give justice too...1
Eventually after asking Anais quietly if she was ready, and receiving her nod, Delta started up the car once more, finding her way back to the exit they'd detoured from. They had been driving for a while when Delta, finally ready to lighten the mood, spoke.2
" Well," she said lightly, " No wonder you don't think you want to be a model, Anais. Not only can you not be a Victoria's Secret girl, but someone might recognize you."3
That little comment fell flat, and it was only after Delta said it that she realized it was not at all funny.4
" I'm sorry," she said quickly. " That wasn't funny... you know, I'm sure the cops aren't after you, Anais. And even if they were, they'd only have to question you for two minutes before they'd let you go."5
Anais looked over at her, and Delta saw shadows reflected in her dark eyes, darkening her face.6
" But I don't want to," she said softly. " I don't want them to find me, to question me. I don't even want them to find him. I just want to keep going. I want to keep doing like we're doing... I want this to last forever."7
Delta stole a glance at her. The truth was, she wanted that too. She had never felt as free as she had in the past few days, driving with Anais, even with all the initial uncomfort, and the recent sadness of Anais's revelations... she wanted to keep on, to continue their journey forever, to ride away with Anais and never let them catch her, never let her be found... but the truth was that they couldn't. It simply wasn't possible. They'd run out of money eventually, and she was heading to Hollywood... they'd be there in less than a week. Their journey would soon end...8
" I know what you mean," Delta told her. " I kind of wish that too... but Anais, that just can't happen. We'll be in Hollywood in less than a week. I'm not trying to worry you, but what will you do when you get there? If you don't want to act or model or sing or anything, then what will you do?"9
Anais sighed, looking away as she replied.10
" I'm not worried about myself... I'll figure it out. I've always managed before. I'll find something..." here she hesitated, her eyes flicking over to Delta, as if appraising her. Then she added in a rush, " It's you I'm worried about."11
Delta frowned. " What do you mean? Why would you be worried about me?"12Anais hesitated, reluctant to speak. Finally she said," I'm worried about what you'll do when we get there."13
Delta looked at her sharply, surprised. " I told you- I'll be an actress, of course."14
" No," Anais said quietly, turning her face deliberately to look directly at her. " No, I don't think so."15
Delta looked at her again, hating that she was driving, that she couldn't look at her as she talked.16
" What do you mean, you don't think I will be an actress?" Delta asked, a strange feeling of alarm, anger, and defensiveness lighting itself in her stomach.17
" Can you pull over somewhere?" Anais asked. " I know we've stopped a lot today, but I want to look at you... I don't' want you to be distracted while driving."18
Wordlessly, Delta pulled over at the nearest gas station she saw, parking at its side. Her mind was whirling, wondering just what Anais was about to say, what she saw in her that made her say such a crazy thing. 19
" What?" she said tightly. " What is it?"20
Anais looked quickly into Delta's face, then dropped her gaze, fidgeting. She took a deep breath, squaring her shoulders, and determinedly looked back up at her.21" I didn't want to say this before," she began, " because I didn't know you. I didn't trust you, and I didn't want to anger you. Now though- I've told you a lot about me... now it's time for me to tell you about you."22
She hesitated, then plunged ahead. " Delta- you're not going to be able to be an actress in Hollywood. You have to know that, somewhere deep down. It's just a dream, a wish. If you think about it you'll see how unrealistic it is. How do you expect to do it? Just walk into a studio and say, " hi, I'm Delta Masago, I want to audition", and they'll say, " sure, okay", and the next thing you're on TV? It doesn't work like that. Even if you can get through- which you probably won't, with all the security guards- they wouldn't let you audition, and they wouldn't want you in a movie. They'd laugh at you. I mean, you're from Oklahoma. You are a 20 year old waitress who grew up in a trailer. You've never even been in a school play. What makes you think you can be a famous actress? I'm not trying to be mean or nasty, I'm just being honest. I'm worried about you... I don't want you to get there and have them hurt you."23
The whole time Anais had been speaking, Delta had stared at her, dumbstruck, unable to believe what she was saying. Anais, who never spoke, let alone criticized or lectured? And what was more- she couldn't mean it. It wasn't even true... was it?24
" That's not true," Delta said, her voice suddenly hoarse and strained. " I Will be an actress. You're wrong. You don't know how they do things. Of course they'll let me audition. Of course I'll be in the movies. Maybe not right away- but soon. I WILL be."25
Anais did not stop looking at her; she regarded her with a look Delta read as pity, and it both scared and angered her. How dare Anais- ANAIS- look at her like that, as if she pitied her!26
" I know you want to be," Anais whispered. " But just because you want something doesn't mean it will happen. I should know... and I also know it doesn't help to convince yourself. It only hurts you."27
" But that IS the truth!" Delta yelled. She didn't' care how she looked or sounded, how badly she might scare Anais. " It's true! I will be an actress! I will! You're wrong, you don't' know what you're talking about! I am!"28
Anais had begun to tremble when Delta screamed at her, but she held her ground, looking at her steadily, not answering but not backing down. As Delta looked at her furiously, she realized the girl was terrified but holding herself together- for her. She was being strong for her... it was what finally broke her. Suddenly Delta was crying, her breath coming in harsh gasps, tears streaming down her face. She looked away, and she knew that Anais was right- it had been nothing but a dream. She would never go to Hollywood, never be famous, never be anything...29
Anais regarded her seriously as she cried, a mix of guilt, fear, and sadness coloring her expression. Gradually she began to be bolder, and her hand reached out cautiously, until she was touching Delta's shoulder. She rubbed it slowly, gingerly, then more sure of herself. If Delta had not been so upset, she would have realized that this was the first time Anais had touched her of her own will.30
When Delta's tears had slowed, she sniffed, wiping her eyes with one hand. Thanking Anais shakily, she closed her eyes briefly. when she opened them, she looked at her and laughed shakily, her eyes still watery.31
" God, between the two of us, we're both a mess. Maybe we should take a detour to a mental institution."32Anais smiled uncertainly. Delta exhaled.33
" You're right," she admitted. " You're right. I'm not going to be an actress. I'm not talented or rich or pretty enough. Kennedy was right. She always was... and I probably am NOT thin enough."34
She shook her head. " Look at us... neither of us know what we're doing or where we're going."35
Anais smiled timidly. " Yeah..."36
" What are we going to do?" Delta muttered.
Anais was silent, regarding her solemnly. It was several moments before she spoke. " I don't know," she said slowly. " But we'll figure it out... together. Can't we? Whatever we decide- we'll decide together. We'll do it together- right?" Her eyes locked on Delta's, unsure, hoping, pleading...
Delta looked back at her, taking in all that was Anais... her long dark hair framing a face so lovely, yet so hurt... a body so attractive, yet covered with scars and clothes that hid its true beauty... then she looked at Anais's eyes, and she saw with clarity just who she really was beyond all the surface junk... the things that mattered so much and yet so little...
She saw Anais Donato.. and she smiled.
" Yes," she said slowly. " Whatever we do, wherever we go, we'll do it together."
Anais smiled back. As they looked at each other, really seeing each other for the first time, Anais's smile grew and grew, until she was nearly beaming... she looked like a different person, a person that perhaps one day she could become...
Delta turned back to the wheel, and starting her car, began to pull out of the gas station. The two girls were quiet once again as they drove down the highway, the sun shining over their heads, on their way to a new start...