In her haste Kak nearly tripped over the wicker rocking chairs lining Spatini’s front windows. She hurried past Footloose Sandals & Shoes, pausing at the top of the steps to the courtyard below only long enough for a glance over her shoulder. As she hit the pavers of the courtyard she began to jog, barely noting the lush landscaping and palms. The thought that Stammer, or worse, Evelyn might emerge and call her back propelled her into the Volkswagen Jetta.
Her bare thighs hit a driver’s seat that had spent its leisure time collecting the full energy of the sun.
“Motherfucker!” she yelled, arching her back, pressing her heels against the floorboard and her shoulder blades against the seat back to raise her exposed skin off the griddle-hot seat. She reached for the door handle but stopped herself. There was no time to get out and allow the air conditioning to cool it down. Judging from her spray tanning, she had three minutes at the most. Her absence could be detected any second. Perhaps had already. Holding herself up, she started the engine, put the Jetta in drive and swung it out of the parking space to the entrance without allowing her bare skin to touch the leather.
A quick glance in either direction and she accelerated onto Periwinkle Way. In less than a minute the seat cooled enough for her to ease her scorched thighs onto it with minimal pain. Her abdominals thanked her for the relief.
Alone on the road an odd giddiness found her. At first she assigned it to the Bitter End Apricot Liqueur kicking in. Or the thrill of escape. She knew it was neither of those. Though she didn’t let herself acknowledge it, the part of her subconscious that reached up to put its fingertips on her conscious mind knew why the butterflies engaged in dogfights deep in her abdomen. It was the proximity of her demise. She was on her way now and nothing could stop her.
Periwinkle terminated into Tarpon Bay Road so that you had to decide. Right or left. She chose left, south, and followed it straight as an arrow. With the anticipation of how, when and where she would make her getaway now behind her, she could think. And now that she could think, what she thought was that Tarpon Bay Road was much too straight. An island, being necessarily curved at its border so that a traveler following the edge in one direction would eventually find her way around the perimeter and successfully arrive at her original point of embarkation, or not be an island, should have roads that reflected its curved character. Just as it got under her skin enough to tempt her to get off the straight road and create something not-straight, it terminated into West Shore Gulf drive. She went left. Now the only thing between her and the Gulf of Mexico were the vacation rentals and beach clubs that lined the shore.
She followed the proper winding island road past tennis courts and along a subdivision called Butterknife named, she supposed from maps she’d seen, for its peculiar shape. The road bordering the south side of Butterknife followed the edge of the blade as it swung north and up to the point. No sooner did you prick your tires on that point than Gulf Drive became Casa Ybel Road and you were close.
Kak took the right onto Algiers Lane and followed it south toward Algiers Beach. The paved road twisted through the dense palm hammock until asphalt turned to sand. It said, you’re leaving things behind.
The first drops hit her windshield as she pulled into the parking area. She scanned the sky. By all appearance it was an isolated squall. She fished in her backpack, found the prescription bottle and shook it. The blue capsules rattled in the plastic cylinder. Doxepin. Usual daily dosage for mild to moderate symptomatology: 150 mg. For severe symptomatology: to 300 mg. Recommended for the treatment of psychotic depressive disorders with associated anxiety.
She’d begun taking it a month after her release from Langone. Staying in bed four weeks brought that kind of response. Stammer poured her into the car over her objections and took her in. The initial prescription of 150 mg a day barely made a dent. She progressed to 300 mg within six weeks.
Admittedly, the capsules made her situation tenable. If she ingested one of the 150 mg capsules before lunch and another half an hour before bed she not only slept, she walked and talked as she had before Langone.
But there was more. You just had to keep reading. Highly toxic in overdose. Respiratory depression. Coma. It was perfect. She’d read about a 50-year-old female psychiatric patient found dead from a single dose of 1500 mg. A mere ten capsules. She must have five times that number in the bottle. It was just a matter of finding a spot she liked where the sand made a welcome bed.
She slipped the doxepin into her pocket and got out. The meter allowed her to buy an hour’s worth of parking time for five dollars. She put the coupon on the dash before locking it.
Now, seeing the parking coupon through the glass, she reversed herself. The coupon would make her actions appear to be unplanned, as if she’d expected to come back. She didn’t want that. She wanted this to appear exactly as it was, the most deliberate act of her life. She unlocked the car and took the coupon, crumpling it and dropping it in a trash can as she walked toward the beach.
The sky opened. Larger drops of rain bombarded her, exploding like tiny bombs as they struck the dry ground around her. This wasn’t the way she’d envisioned it. She’d seen herself reclining on a warm, dry patch of beach, the waves and wind lulling her off to eternal sleep, aided by a few dozen doxepin. She’d be damned if she was going out locked in a car or shut up in some dark hotel room hidden from the sun. It was a cliche and it repulsed her.
The rain thickened and she ran for the cover of the Jetta to wait it out.
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