Inside River Run
Picking up a remote control from the table, she switched on a sound system. A few clicks later, music began playing. “Are you familiar with Billie Holiday?”
He was embarrassed to say that he wasn’t.
“Mid-twentieth-century black jazz singer. One of the truly greats. A total original. Here’s one I’ve been listening to lately. It’s called ‘Good Morning Heartache.’”
The awkwardness of the moment distilled into silence.
“All right,” she said, “enough of feeling sorry for ourselves, okay? How about something different from Ms. Holiday? “Something a little less bluesy?”
“Sure.” A few clicks later, out came “Easy Living.”
On the radio, Judy Collins was singing “Amazing Grace.” The song, which should have uplifted his spirits, only deepened his sadness. Here he was, estranged from others and from himself, on a distant planet, a prisoner of the Interstate, staring dully through tears at the heartless traffic, the diabolical road lamps, and the crimson clouds that smoldered like funeral pyres at the rim of the world, while trying to hold on to the desperate hope he might recover his life.