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Keep Art Alive :: “Lapin Douleur” :: Art by Kelly Haigh

Was trying to find me something,
but I wasn’t sure just what, 
funny how they say that some things never change.”

Josephine and Lucille were as opposite as day and night, as Winter and Summertime, as the crowded city lights and the stretches of desert under the stars. Josephine always preferred the space, the way her chest would expand and contract as she breathed it all in, all that room to think, all those miles to spin around in. Lucille, on the other hand, hated everything about her dusty upbringing. She longed for light pollution and horn-honks in the street. Lucille would lie on her back some nights cursing the stars for being the only light she could see, glaring at the moon as if to say “why can’t you come and take me away?”

Lucille cut all her hair off and bleached it blonde. She ordered colored contacts from mail order catalogs and ripped apart the one department store’s clothing options, sewing them into her own designs. She refused to work at the gas station, refused to help her Father with the farm out back. She blamed him for her Mother leaving them, hated him for not insisting her Mother take her along.

Perhaps she should have saved all that anger for her Mother, but how could she? She could not blame her for wanting to get far, far away from all this nothing.

Josephine filled in all the spaces that Lucille rejected. She took the bus home from school and raced to the station, did her homework behind the counter while helping any customer who wound up off the highway. She smiled and thanked all of them, even the miserable from the heat ones who barked at her. She would help her Father clean and close up and then head home where she would throw something together for dinner. Lucille never waited up for them, never joined them for their late night meals.

Josephine would collapse in bed exhausted, reaching to set an alarm for before the break of dawn, giving herself time to feet the few animals they still had, make breakfast for her Father, and lunch for she and Lucille (most days Lucille just left the sack lunch abandon on the counter), then it was off to the bus stop. She would stand there waiting in her hand me down dresses, her arms full of scratches from the chickens and the rabbits, but a smile of contentment on her face. She loved the desert, loved her Father, and even her sister, even if she was never there to love.

She never wanted to leave.

Josephine met Joseph one night at the gas station. He was new in town, moved here from the nearest “big” city. He winked at her and said she was lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Josephine likes to say that she loved “Joe” at first wink, and he likes to say that he loved “Jo” before meeting her, that she had come to him in a desert sky dream.

Once he met her he never wanted to leave. This desert girl was his home.

Oh My Sweet Carolina (live) :: Ryan Adams and Laura Marling

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