by Monique Hayes

Scales

Kilogram after kilogram won’t kill her composure. Lluvy’s a class-A lady licensed for long hauls. Her roaring rig contains dashboard hula girls with birthing hips and observant opal eyes. Their gazes don’t grow wider when her supervisor confirms the docked ducats. No issue of a pregnant payment despite her heavy load, an overweight permit and a groping session at this weight station. Her thumbed-down fare card shows her expanding hours, reminds her of the seconds it will take for Emmanuel to turn his tassel at eighth grade graduation. She fills the seat of an 18-wheeler instead where the vinyl might smooth out imprints of a hand eager to learn whether Latin curves live up to their reputation.
Her supervisor assigns an escort, Al: the reason she’s no longer content in coveralls. He scrawls “chemically imbalanced” on her Marie Curie postcard as a joke before talking about the bygone days of corsets and petticoats, a hirsute history buff of the highways. Sure, him mishandling the equipment borders on mildly amusing, but the checkpoint? Less so. There Al shares his frequent attendance at Sadie’s tea parties. He promotes any activity that teaches her to be proper. Pictures reveal a pig-tailed rugrat with curled fingers in the air sure to turn a tassel someday.
He announces he’s going to the diner for crumpets with a guffaw that rattles Lluvy’s guts. She massages her thighs through her empty pockets. Will she be driving the eighteen-wheeler when Emmanuel’s eighteen? In front of her sit truck scales that will never produce a number for the cells in skin that caressed her, unnerved her, kept her on a road of crossed lines.
Al returns with a decent amount of doughnuts for the both of them. But Lluvy’s gone, her chest elevated as she drives before it goes level.

– – – – –

Monique Hayes received her MFA from the University of Maryland College Park. Her work has appeared in Prick of the Spindle, Mused, Heart: Human Equity Through Art, Midway Journal, among others. She serves as a Manuscript Screener for Callaloo Journal.

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