The Roots of Lily

She was born standing by the side of a road on a wooded mountainside.
She remembered things from earlier, her childhood, friends, a family, some other life, but they were unreal, distant.
As though she’d learned them from a book or a movie without really experiencing them.

First there was the road, and the trees, and the curve of the mountain, and the city spread out below.
The lights from the city washed up against the clouds and unsettled them.

She was wearing a plaid flannel skirt and a heavy cotton blouse, flat canvas sneakers and a band in her hair.
The wind pulled at her and she tugged at her hair and let the wind take the band away.
It carried the wide ribbon out over the mountain and down toward the city.
Her hair tossed in front of her face.

Headlights came around the curve.
She picked up her cardboard suitcase and raised her hand hopefully.
The car was new, a ’57 sedan.
She couldn’t see anything of the driver in the glare of the headlights, but she thought he was wearing a narrow-brimmed hat, like a porkpie.

“Which way you headed?” he asked, his voice idling like his engine.
“Out, she said. “Over the mountain.”