...student visa, passport in her purse with an extra ATM card. Her credit card was blank with a 1500 dollar limit. She did not have a lot of debt due to the sale of her house after her divorce. She had used the profits to pay off bills from nursing school and credit cards. Though she was generally good with money she felt that most people her age had houses and families and she was at square one in some areas. But secretly she knew she had stayed away from commitments after her divorce several years earlier. She had been unsure of her future plans at the time. She didn't own a house or have kids two expensive undertakings.
She remembered reading an article about Lady Diana Spencer, wanting to increase her chances of making a good marriage by remaining a virgin, possibly even prince Charles, she had called it, “keeping herself tidy”. June had been keeping herself tidy from commitments these last couple of years. Suddenly she imagine herself as Princess Diana. Putting one hand demurely up palm outward while saying meaningfully. “I am saving myself for the big niche. I won’t give it up until I am certain that nothing better is coming along.” She snapped out of her reverie because the bus arrived and she got on paying one dollar in quarters for the fare.
Sitting down staring out the window lost in thought. June’s most important personal things, old college books, photos, where neatly packed and in Carmen’s secure attic. The art class tuition cost 1000 dollars and that left her 6000 dollars for living expenses, for one semester of school, and her credit card for a ticket home. She was traveling on a one-way ticket. She was still bargaining on figuring out a way to stay once she got to Paris. Her emotional pain seemed to stay at bay in the novelty and business of the city. She had discovered this strange phenomenon on her first visit the previous year. She had bought a five day museum pass to the Louvre and stayed at a low cost youth hostel and had attended one English speaking ex-patriot meeting.
Something soft gave way inside of her like a tissue tearing. Instead of the dreaded sadness this was replaced by something beautiful. A desire to live in Paris. Replacing something ugly with something pretty. That she just felt lighter in Paris, happy. Passing by the flat southwestern architecture going uphill toward the Mountain. June’s mind reflected on her past when she had made a young marriage to an older man with anxieties limited traveling or varying their routine. She took care of him in a sort of trade for love, although she had not realized it at the time. She divorced after going to therapy and realizing she wanted more in a relationship. She wanted a real partnership. They had a no frills divorce. In some ways her previous marriage had mirrored her childhood taking care of someone in exchange for tidbits of love. June tended to think of these things on the afternoons when she would see Max. and she would be leaving to France later than evening.
During her three years of therapy she had long ago come to terms with her charming but childish mother to the extent
that she wished her well while keeping her at a certain arms length. She wanted things to work out with her relationship with her two younger sisters in their older years. She hoped for this anyway. She held such fantasies for a reunion with her father. Max often reminded her that hope was a form of not dealing with reality.
The wheezing Albuquerque bus lumbered up to curb. Since public transportation is discretely considered a subsidy for the poor in this city, it basically was not very good. The people who rode the bus tended to be people who didn't own cars because they couldn't afford them not because of ecological purposes and sometimes drunk with occasional students or downtown office workers who park and rode to their office. The general atmosphere was one of resignation and potential rowdy antisocial behavior by the drunk passengers. Normally she drove. This would be her last visit to Max for a while, perhaps even forever. She had been seeing him for three years now. The bus lurchednto a stop and she descended. Down she went. Max’s office was in a non descript business area behind Coronado Mall. She waited in the cheery waiting room with plants in macramé hangers from another era. Max came out to find her. “Come in June he pleasantly offered.”