Johnny Cash on the Jukebox, Walk the Line.

In a truck stop with bloodshot eyes, all-night drivers, and builders in blue jeans with arms as thick as legs. Also travelling salesmen, in cheap suits with frozen faces.

I wait for Mary.

And on a menu, on a chalkboard, white chalk, blue chalk shadows, powder on the floor. Meatloaf, fries, and a doorstop of white. Spicy sausage with mash and peas, and a doorstop of white. And the best seller, Bill Bradley’s Big Blue Cheeseburger with fries and a cob of corn.

And then Mary arrives, pristine in her pinstripe pinafore, red and white stripes, ironed down the seam. She smiles through two layers of makeup, and tarantula leg eyelashes. She has a beauty spot dotted on a plucked mole, and a stud with a turquoise gem, making her an adolescent senior.

Soft rouge Mary, with her cheap mortgage and no easy exit clause, her man, a distant memory in some East End dive with pool friends, and no money except for booze and fags and pork snacks in a bowl with a Geisha on it. A beautiful woman, forty years back, now a retired Greek goddess with the warmest heart, and the widest smile.

My father never did appreciate her.

cancer in the end,
a 70s disco wake, at the club,
whisky and soda.

For Kari Jeppesen