Title: Margarita – Hoping for Absolution
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Margarita decided to leave her home in ex-Mexico and travel north with two friends to seek their fortunes in the northern territories, formerly known as the United States of America. The Rio Bravo Del Norte was no longer considered a border between the two former countries, and the fencing on the border that existed for many decades had long ago crumbled and fallen into total disrepair. As a consequence, the people flowed back and forth at will. For those older people still around, they understood the irony of the current situation.
Margarita, who had recently turned twenty-eight, knew it was time to explore other possibilities for her life, though under the present dystopian circumstances, she understood that those possibilities were rather slim and fraught with danger. Margarita got up very early one morning, grabbed her small bag of belongings, and left a note to her family asking them to forgive her for leaving them in their time of need. Would they give her the absolution she was requesting? Margarita knew that it was likely she’d never find out. But she would pray for that absolution daily just in case she saw them again.
She met up with her two friends, Juan and Anita, and piled into a stolen, old Buick four door sedan that was stolen from another family who had stolen it from someone else, who, well it goes on and on. It was, after all, a dystopian world, and getting transportation this way was actually rather normal. As they began their journey, they stopped next to a parked car on a desolate street and siphoned most of the gas from that car to theirs. That was normal, too. Gas stations were hard to come by.
The sun was just starting to peek up over the mountains as the trio headed north. In normal times before the current dystopian era, the trip would have taken about two hours. But now, it could be a few days since anyone with a functioning brain knew that they had to avoid the dangers that lie ahead. Many detours would be required to finally reach their destination, wherever that may turn out to be.
The small band of travelers arrived at the old border in just over ten hours, much less time than they had anticipated and with only a few detours around the towns they knew harbored unsavory people. The border checkpoint, now deserted, seemed to fit in perfectly with the state of the world. It was dystopian before the world became dystopian. In older times it might have taken hours to cross the border, but now, less than a minute.
Even now ex-America offered more opportunities than ex-Mexico. But those opportunities were no longer exponentially better, just better. After crossing the ex-border, the wandering friends pulled over to the side of a road to ponder their future path. They pulled out an old, worn road atlas of America, looked at the ex-state of New Mexico, and decided to head toward a town that very likely disappeared decades ago. But it didn’t look very far so there was nothing to lose, unless of course, it was one of those towns best avoided. To help pass the time, Margarita turned on the radio and started to spin the dial to see if there was anything at all out there. It took a moment but soon a station came in clearly. According to the announcer, it was KRRP in Dunbar, wherever the hell that was. During their drive they discovered that the announcer’s name was Larry Dunbar, so they assumed he must own the town. Was that where they were heading?
With Juan driving like the crazy driver he was known to be, it only took them about twenty minutes to discover a town that looked, in their native language, espeluznante, or creepy. If this was Dunbar, they certainly weren’t going to be staying there. They drove slowly through the town, not wanting to attract any attention to themselves. When they got just a bit north of whatever town that was, they noticed an older woman walking along the side of the road with a huge sidearm strapped to her side and lugging two large plastic bags. They stopped. Anita rolled the window down, “Excuse me, was that the town of Dunbar back there?”
The woman squinted at them, “No, doesn’t have a name any longer. I’d stay away from it if I were you. But Dunbar’s a good town. Nice people. You’ll be safer up there. Lots of spirit travelers up that way. I’m sure you can hook up with a group without much trouble. Just about thirty minutes straight ahead.”
Anita smiled at the old woman, “Yes, we’ve heard of the spirit travelers, so thanks for the tip. Need a ride?”
“Sounds good to me,” the woman replied. As she climbed into the back of the old Buick, she told them her name was Dianna Milburn and her home was about a mile away. “Where’d you get this fine-looking automobile” she queried. Margarita replied, “We stole it.”
“Best way, always the best way,” she said with a smile.
The three adventurers and Dianna pulled up to a home surrounded by a very large, gated fence. Once inside, the friends got out and looked around. They were amazed at what they saw. A large adobe home that seemed like it was built yesterday. “Wow,” they all exclaimed. “This is beautiful.” Dianna explained that the fence surrounding the home had razor wire along the top, which was also electrified as was the gate. “No one’s getting in here without my say so. You’re safe here.” she told them.
Since the hour was getting late, Dianna invited these strangers to stay the night. The home, after all, had five bedrooms, four bathrooms, so it would easily handle these three guests. The three wanderers shared their names with Dianna and readily accepted her offer to stay in her safe and beautiful home. After an amazing home cooked meal and some interesting conversation, the three travelers retired to their respective bedrooms. They slept better than they had in years.
The next morning, Margarita awoke to the bright sun blasting into her room. She got up and looked out at the wonderful view, which belied the awfulness that had befallen the world. She made her way down to the kitchen where Dianna was brewing a large pot of coffee. “Sleep well, Margarita?” Dianna asked.
“Yes, actually,” she replied.
“Glad to hear it,” Dianna stated as she poured a cup of brew for Margarita. Margarita sat down and took a slow sip of coffee. The two sat in silence for a few minutes when Margarita looked over at Dianna. “Can I ask you something?”
“What’s on your mind, girl?” Dianna asked.
Margarita hesitated for a few seconds and then asked, “I know this is a bold thing to ask, but would you mind if I stayed here with you for maybe a few weeks? I’m pretty handy with things, and I can handle a gun. I just need to figure out what I want to do with my life, even if there aren’t many possibilities out there.”
Dianna looked at Margarita for maybe a minute as if trying to size up this young woman, “Yes, you can stay. I could use a bit of company. It’s been a long while since I’ve had that in my life. In fact, you all can stay.”
Margarita laughed, ““Oh, Juan and Anita are too restless for that. It took them weeks to convince me to go with them and they weren’t happy waiting around for me. No, I’m sure they will head up to Dunbar and seek whatever adventure that brings. But I would be honored to stay here and be your friend.””
Dianna smiled, “Then it’s settled. You’ll stay. Well, we will get into details later and I’m sure you have many questions about how I pulled off this pretty cool, safe home, but now I’m going upstairs to take a shower. It’s getting to the point where I can’t stand myself. Have some more coffee if you want.”
Margarita poured herself another cup of coffee and went out to the veranda. For the first time in a long time she felt relaxed. She thought about waking her friends but decided to let them sleep. She would tell them of her plans soon enough and was certain they would be supportive of her decision. And yes, she did have many questions about Dianna’s life. But, more importantly, she had to decide what she wanted to do with her life, and whatever it was, she wanted it to be helpful. Something that would make a positive difference in this ugly world. That would be absolution enough for her. She sat back, took a long sip of coffee, and looked up at the blue sky. She smiled and thought to herself, This is a good start to my new life.