All hat no cattle, C says as we drive through Lubbock, Texas. My endometriosis has flared and we’re on our way to Fun Noodle Bar when we pass the boy in the Ray Bans and the fake cowboy hat, his upper lip bristled with a patchy 20-year-old mustache. The boy drives a pick-up truck, a GMC Sierra. Back on O`ahu, my dad drives a truck too, a smaller truck, a Tacoma he’s made into a camper, a truck I haven’t seen because of the virus. We—C and I— pass the boy in the GMC, and C rolls his window down, the window that’s not broken. We broke mine driving from Knoxville to Lubbock. C waves his beer and shouts, All hat no cattle, but the boy doesn’t hear him through the tinted windows of his Sierra. I hear him. I remember when Dad used to drive a Ford F-150, the truck he had when I was eight, the truck he sold so my stepmom could get her Honda Pilot. Dad and I would take the Ford on spins through Kahala. We’d play this game: Dad drove slow; I’d yell at people walking the sidewalk. One day I yelled at a woman and she jumped. She fell over and that’s when we saw she was pregnant. Dad left her even though he was a fireman even though he used to be a paramedic. This is before he first went to rehab. I kept asking is she okay. On the phone with the cops, my dad said, I saw someone yell at a woman on Hunakai and they said we’ll check on it. Kahala is a wealthy neighborhood. In C’s car, I forget the window’s broken and push the button but it’s the kind of broken where up is down and down is up so it doesn’t move. It grinds. C rolls his window up because we’re on the freeway, we’re driving his favorite part, the nicest view in Lubbock. He calls it rainbow road but really it’s an offramp or maybe it’s an overpass. The sun sets in front of us, so bright that if I didn’t trust C, I might be afraid he’d drive us off the road. He pulls into the strip mall lot, and I point out the moon. It’ll be full tomorrow. The best places to view the moon in Lubbock are from parking lots, C says. He takes his beer and leaves me to grab our takeout. I think about the lot on top of Tantalus. We’d go there when Dad was really fucked up, when he didn’t want to disappoint my stepmom. On the open tailgate of his Ford, we’d sit and watch the sunset lay a sheet of gold over everything, from Diamond Head to the airport. Yesterday, C and I went to Lubbock Lake after I cried in the closet from the pain. We walked in the wind. We kicked tumbleweeds and they bounced. You’ll feel better with oxygen in your lungs, my dad always says. He started saying this after his second—or was it his third?—stint in rehab. And sometimes it’s true. Sometimes I do. But back in the car, after getting the food, a receipt blew out my door and I watched C chase it. It snuck below the fence and into the Little League game the kids were playing in the stadium. C came back to the car empty-handed and out of breath, his beard blown up like a skirt. Almost got it, he says. Sometimes I wonder if this is all life is, chasing things we’ll never catch, losing bits of ourselves in the process. Like me, here and in love with C, who’s so much like Dad. Like Dad, going to rehab for coke, then alcohol, only to get addicted to Bikram Yoga. When C and I get home, I’m so nauseous I can’t eat, can’t even sit at the table. I lie balled up on the floor and C rubs my back, tells me through a mouth of whiskey and noodles, it’ll get better, when it will only get worse. 

Mariah Rigg is a writer and educator from Honolulu, Hawai`i. She has an MFA from the University of Oregon. Her work has been published or is forthcoming from The Cincinnati ReviewPuerto del SolCarve, and elsewhere. You can find her online @riggstah or wandering through Knoxville—hands full of flowers, halfway through a croissant.

Photo by Laura Oliverio