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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Lo Siento


Driving across all those Midwestern “I” states is weary work, more so in the rain. Hour after hour watching semi-trucks throwing up sprays of water, rain falling from the dark heavy sky, squeaking windshield wipers scraping back and forth, blinding lighting flashes, construction cones and tail lights. By time I reached Ohio, I needed a break. I needed to get out of the car, to stretch my legs. I needed to refill the gas tank and my coffee thermos. I needed, most of all, to pee.


I pulled off the highway at an all-night truck-stop, filled the tank with gasoline and headed for the men’s room. The fluorescent lights flickered unevenly; pale green light reflected on the ceramic tiled walls and floors. I stepped up to an empty urinal and unzipped my pants. Behind me, in one of the stalls, I heard grunting. Someone was filling the bowl. If I wasn’t quick, I’d be breathing the fumes. I began to empty my bladder. Behind me the grunting continued. Then, between the grunts, whispering: “Lo siento. Lo siento. Lo siento.”

I flushed, zipped up, and washed my hands at the sink.

Grunt. “Lo siento. Lo siento."

I’m sorry, fellow traveler. I feel for you. 

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