So Lemuel tried something. He flipped open the phone to check the number that called it, the one he'd never bothered to memorize, and he wrote the number in big numerals on the back of the insurance card from his glove box. Then he honked his horn, the blaring of compressed air echoing in the Ford's big blocky hood, until she turned to look. He smiled, he waved his phone at her, and he slapped the number against his passenger window. She stared at it, and at Lemuel's big grin, but she turned her head away.
Nawh, Lemuel thought, nawh, you don't know, I'm a gentle guy. I'd take care a ya.
He sounded the horn again, grinned bigger with his eyes wide and his eyebrows high, and he nodded at her and said out loud, "I'd love you good." And swearing by the good Lord Jesus, he meant it.
She squinted at him, for the sun, he thought, which came down hard like a hand flat across the face in San Antonio, even in winter--dear Lord, he hated coming to the city--and shook her head. Lemuel laughed for her and said out loud, his voice drumming around in the empty pick-up cab, "Aw, I see, you just don't understand."
He waved his phone again, pointed its little antenna at her and then at himself and then at his pen-scrawled number on the insurance card. He nodded across the asphalt, his heart reaching right out the plaid of his button-down and through their windows to show her how he felt.
She rolled her eyes away and to her seat, then she looked across and smiled back, a toothy mirror across the frozen highway, and she took up her own phone beside her, dialed, held it to her ear. Then Lemuel's phone rang, foreign but musical to him. He smiled still bigger, his stubble-patched face split across the middle, and he looked for the button that answered the phone, found and pressed it, held the tiny thing awkwardly to his ear.
"Fuck off," she said. He saw her close and toss away her phone, turn back to the dead traffic ahead. She put her splayed left hand up to her face like a screen, her elbow on the door.
Lemuel sat with the phone still to his head, watching. He looked into the bed, the feed back there cold in spite of the sun, the woman behind him still glaring at the Swisher tip in the road. He looked ahead at the long, long line of traffic stretched around Loop 410. He turned again to the ‘Vette. Phone to his ear the whole time. Then he said into the hazy, empty cab, "What's your name?"
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