Victoria Takes the Sweetest Vengeance

She plays an acoustic guitar tunelessly, the long ash of a cigarette hanging from her lips. Her fingers on the frets are padded as a cat’s, callused and clever on the strings. Faded ink covers them, black ballpoint ink, baroque curls around her fingers and across the palms of her hands. Her nails are black with dirt.

A boot scrapes against the ground behind her and the hair slides off her neck, swings in front of her face. “Ah,” she says, and leans forward over the guitar. She pulls forth a slow Spanish song , sweet and melancholic, and croons slowly to the desert, wordlessly. Her cigarette burns out and she spits it at a lizard.

A hand brushes against her neck and lips kiss the top of her head, still cool from the stream. “Ah,” she says again. Arms slide around her and cradle the guitar with her, fingers light on her fingers, hips curled against her hips. The day is still cold but she doesn’t feel it. The sun comes over the mountains and she begins to sing, softly, scaring the lizard back into the shadows. She is three hundred miles from home and has six hundred yet to go.