Blue Lake Casino
The neon sign lit up the black desert night like cotton candy pink. Like popsicle
lime green. Like christmas eve lights on the last magical night of the year. We'd
been driving on this two lane highway for hours. We figured we'd made a wrong
turn back there. Hoped we were heading east towards Vegas. All we wanted was
a bed a shower and maybe a cheese sandwich. There were no highway signs.
No center divider reflectors. No stars. No moon. Nothing to tell us where we
were or where we were headed. Just a gut feeling that it was the wrong way.
Blue Lake Casino winked at us. 15 miles ahead, the sign promised. I tried to
picture a blue lake out here in this desert. It didn’t seem possible. Blue water in
all this gray green flat. We weren't scared or even irritable at this unchosen
detour. It was still in those early months when we laughed at stuff like this.
Before that other person took over her face. A cold unreadable look. Explosions
of unexplainable anger. At me or at the world or at herself, I couldn't tell. She
stopped talking to me. She stopped opening to me. She threw darts of mean
humor at me in between walls of anger. But that came later.
That night out on that un-named highway heading east or south or north
towards the Blue Lake Casino we were still on the same team. We were laughing
off our lostness. It was just another adventure we claimed as our own. It was as
perfect as anything we did together.
Just a few days before we were on the Salton Sea with our closest siblings. Slow
dancing in the thick putrid air outside the rented car. Doors wide open. Antony
singing ‘If it Be Your Will’. The sky saturated with polluted colors over that
accidental lake. Like some other planet on Star Trek. A perfect moment.
We were expected at my mom’s house on the coast in 24 hours. But we were
driving in the wrong direction. Blue Lake Casino in just three miles, another
blinking sign assures us.