Through Grass, Grown Tall


“You know, a pretty girl like you should be more careful on highways like these.”

Any normal person would have been scared. But, she was hardly frightened and she was far from normal—so she looked at the grinning man blankly, taking her hand out from in front of her and grabbing the small black bag by her feet. She climbed into the semi-truck and took a seat on the red leather, not bothering to flinch as it burned her skin.

The upholstery was peeling and breaking open from the summer heat and the ground was littered with broken sun–flower seeds. The radio between them was buzzing with old songs from the seventies that she recognized from her dad’s record collection.


She turned to the deep voice next to her, glancing only briefly at his faltering smile that exposed his yellowed teeth. His face was covered in thick brown hair and he smelled like he had been driving for multiple days now. His eyes were tired and dull, but searching her for conversation.

“Arizona,” she spoke simply, her voice cracked, reminding her how long it had been since she’d used it. She glanced at the name sewed into his old, dingy baseball tee. Jerry. “I need to get to Chandler, Arizona.”

“I can bring you as far as Phoenix,” he replied, starting up the engine.

She nodded her head and stared straightforward keeping her eyes on the black asphalt and counting mile markers. Her chest was burning and her hands were still shaky. The marks on her neck from last night were throbbing and the pills she had taken this morning were making her queasy.

She rubbed her eyes and placed her forehead against the dirty window next to her even though it was burning her skin. She was too tired to be moving, but her mind wouldn’t let her sleep. She wasn’t sure if it was because of detest of her current destination or if the drugs she had taken were actually just doing their job.

She could feel ‘Jerry’s’ eyes on her as the drove down the freeway but she kept her eyes closed. She wasn’t ready for the questions she was sure he was thinking about.

“What’s your name?” He asked simply, lighting a cigarette and inhaling it as they drove.

She opened her eyes and sighed, squinting as the sun burned her pupils. “Rachel,” she lied, staring at the desert on either side of the truck.

“I’m Jerry,” he said, trying to sound welcoming.

“I know,” she said simply, pointing at his shirt with her hand simply.

“Oh, yeah, I forgot about that,” he chuckled, coughing as smoke entered his lungs. “Why are you going to Arizona, Miss Rachel?”

She looked out the window and rolled her eyes. “You ask too many questions,” she stated, closing her eyelids once again letting the man silence himself.

Her fingers racked against her leg anxiously and her foot wouldn’t stop shaking on its axis. She was nervous. She couldn’t do this. She hated Arizona. She hated it.

It was the reason she was in this mess—this mess of her life.

Would he be there?

Because he, he was the reason she was in this mess.

“Fuck,” she whispered quietly, letting her thoughts overrun her mind all at once. All she could see were those bright green eyes. She’d been seeing them every night for two years. They were all around her—in every boy she met. In every girl she met. In every window that showed her own reflection. In every picture of scenery. In every night sky.

Everywhere—they were there.

They were both there.

“I’m sorry, doll, did you say something?” Jerry spoke, stealing her attention back from the boy in her thoughts.

She looked at him and frowned as she realized she’d rather speak to him than fight with herself for the rest of the car ride. “I—uh, thanks for the ride,” she said weakly, pulling her sunglasses from her shirt and sliding them over her eyes to avoid eye contact.

“Oh, of course darling,” Jerry smiled, grinning at her with his yellowed smile. “What’s a pretty young gal like yourself doing hitch-hiking though? It’s not safe, you know that surely. The cartels around these borders would love to sweep you up. You’d be a gem.”

She grimaced at his unsettling comments. “My ride, they uh, got fed up with my attitude you could say and left me in Kingman…so I started walking,” she said simply.

“I’m guessing your ride is the reason for the shiner on that cheek of yours—unless you fell on the way,” Jerry said knowingly.

She gulped as she remembered the pounding of the boy’s fist against her cheek. “He wasn’t the best friend I’ve ever had,” she said simply.

“Well, Rachel,” the man chuckled. “No worries here. My hands will stay over here. Let’s just say he wasn’t the best dad I’ve ever had either,” Jerry said, lifting his arm and showing scars on his arms. “It happens to the best of us.”

She felt somewhat at ease for the first time in days as she relaxed into the seat. She let Jerry talk about his life—his women, his illegitimate children in different states, his family, the story behind every tattoo he had, even the first time he went hunting with his abusive father. Jerry was an open book.

She supposed that driving around by yourself in silence would do that to you—make you beg for anyone to hear you.

They said that didn’t they? That if you were alone for too long you went crazy? She was pretty sure they did. She was also pretty sure she would.

Being alone in her mind would drive anyone mad.

“You never answered me,” Jerry said after a while of silence. “Why Arizona?”

She looked back out the window at the sun that was falling in the sky. Arizona sunsets used to be her favorite but the sunset just became a symbol—even light turned dark.

Eventually the clear, bright things would become dim.

Nothing good could ever stay.

“Did you ever assume that possibly I didn’t answer for a reason?” She replied simply, not caring that she sounded harsh. Just because he shared his story didn’t mean she would share hers. They weren’t friends. He didn’t know her and she wouldn’t let him.

Jerry rolled his eyes and scoffed. “Women, always using what they have to get what they want and then bitching about it when they get the world.”

“You’re right, Jerry,” she chuckled lifelessly, “This semi truck really is the world.”

His hands tightened against the wheel and his foot stepped harder on the gas pedal. She knew from his stories that he somewhat had rage issues. They were going fast—but she didn’t care.

She could die and it would be okay.

In fact, she almost preferred it.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Jerry started saying, slamming on his breaks. She smiled as she saw the red and blue lights in the mirror chasing down the highway after them.

“You mind if I smoke?” She asked, rolling her eyes and not waiting for a reply. She pulled out a perfectly rolled joint and pressed it to her lips, lighting and inhaling. She smiled as Jerry began shuffling around the cab while pulling off the road. He finally pulled a wallet off of the ground.

The officer instructed him out of the car but she stayed put, letting the marijuana seep into her body. She could hear the men speaking about how fast he was driving and arguing about calling his company.

After a few moments her door was being opened and she climbed out.

“Do you have an I.D. ma’am?” The officer said powerfully, puffing his chest out like all police she had seen had ever done. She grabbed her Arizona identification and tossed it at him laxly, ashing her smoke. “Hunter Champagne,” he read, looking her up and down. She could hear Jerry repeating her name confusedly. “Hitch hiking is dan—are you smoking weed?”

Hunter smiled casually and nodded her head. “Is that illegal or something?”

The officer grabbed the joint from her mouth and stomped it into the dirt below their feet, “Well Jerry, I’ll be escorting Miss Champagne to Arizona for you. Pay your ticket or you lose your license.”

Hunter grabbed her backpack and smiled at the gaping truck-driver. “It’s been real, Jer,” she chuckled.

“Who are you?” Jerry called after her, still obviously confused.

She followed the officer to the car and climbed in the back. She sat on the rock hard plastic seat and listened as Jerry’s last call rang in her ears. Who are you?

She closed her eyes and rested her head against the windowsill, letting the drugs try to find ways to answer his question, but the truth was—she had no idea anymore.
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Hai guys! So, I'm pretty much back--you can thank CiCi for being on my ass about it, texting me all day erryday and shitttt. We've been working on this story for over a year now and what we have planned is going to be some real, dark, and serious stuff. I hope you guys stick with us and enjoy it. We're really excited! I'm glad to be back (:

All chapters will be longer than this; this is just kind of a teaser in a sense.
Enjoy and let me know what you think!