Route six

He lived out in a caravan,
off Route Six.
He could smell the ocean at high tide
and if he was very quiet –
which he often was –
he could hear the waves crashing late at night.

His caravan was old and rusty,
the gift of a dying father.
Old and sturdy,
of a kind no longer made,
while rusty on the outside,
it was water-proof,
with many more years of good use,
so he said.
He refused to paint it,
claiming this “kept the thieves away”.

Inside was everything a single man would want:
a small television,
an even smaller radio,
a coffee machine made between the wars,
a comfortable double bed,
and a bookshelf,
with tomes about wars,
Jack London,
and even a small edition on poetry,
which he kept handy,
but out of sight.

He was on a meagre budget,
so nothing unnecessary here.
Everything had a place and everything knew its place.

In short,
he had the life of which many men would dream.
A life free of burden and cares,
with a folding chair in front of the caravan,
for those rare moments when he wanted to “get away”
and look at the stars.

Peace is never to last
and some say that she sensed his happiness,
as the hunted is tracked by heat and the smell of blood.
If he had known that day she arrived,
he could have run inside and brought out a weapon,
but this was not to be.
His senses weren’t honed to danger.
He had lived too long without being hunted.
He had grown soft –

She was dropped along the road,
by a love affair gone bad.
Her dress was torn,
Her hair out of sorts,
Missing a shoe.
He felt pity.
First mistake.

She told him of the scoundrel and watched his heart break,
She saw that he was almost ready to be reeled in.
She used every trick known to her,
until she felt him ready to be addicted to her magic box.

Looking around,
she realised it wasn’t much –
or rather she couldn’t appreciate what it was –
but it would do,
until something better came along.

She pulled in her catch,
then immediately began changing his life,
moving everything in the caravan,
getting rid of almost everything of value,
replacing his life with cheap and shiny things,
from a shop.

He would never again hear the waves.
It was too loud.
Too much bitching,
Too much screaming.

After changing his outward existence,
she began to deconstruct him from the inside.
In time,
the cost of leaving everything was vastly outweighed,
by the death which awaited one –
or both –
of them.

He looked around the caravan with sadness,
until he saw her.
Grabbing what was left of his wallet,
he headed for the door.
A few cents and a poker chip were all he had,
but such is the cost of freedom.

She lives out in a caravan,
off Route Six.

Gerald Lee Jordan
Diamond Harbour NZ
08 March 2013