For me, that is her tomb. Not the place in the city where the death profiteers had painted her up pretty and placed her in a fancy cabinet, nor the cemetery behind the church where her remains had been laid to rest. There beside the dirty shoulder was her unmarked grave for eternity.
I was getting close now. The spot was along a slight bend in the highway, just before it rose up again into the Pennsylvania mountains. I had always loved this road prior to the accident, the way the tall pines climbed up the hills and the clear rivers cut their way along the valleys.
These hills have history, and as New England has its witches these mountains are rumored to have beautiful sprites who live in the pines and call innocent boys into the mountains to suck out their spirits. We use to love to hike and camp in these hills; now 'we' are no more, but I can't help myself from talking like that, in the plural, even in my head.
I regain consciousness as the car slows to a stop. The time on the radio glows 3:53 AM. Robotically, I shut off the engine and the lights and sit for many moments, only disturbed by the occasional caw of a bard owl or passing rig.
The shoulder barrier is still bent and twisted from the accident. It is something that I wish they would fix and at the same time want never to change. Usually I wait for some indefinable period time, then start the engine and pull back on to the highway.
But tonight it is different...