3. Mittens, Kentucky


An old, hand-drawn map of Kentucky on wrinkled, browned paper. In the upper corner, the words "There's no such place as Mittens, Kentucky" are furiously circled in red. Melancholy notes are scrawled all around the map, which is adorned with pictograms and doodles of indeterminate significance.

There’s no such place as Mittens, Kentucky and every single person you ask for directions will tell you so. The car smells of a thousand miles of beef jerky and no air conditioning, and the back seat is a museum of empty plastic soda bottles and all the crumpled road maps that haven’t helped so far.

With her head resting against my chest she told me she loved me and alone in that night we both almost believed it, or believed it enough to stay warm.

There’s no such place as Mittens, Kentucky and there’s no one else staying in the hotel. Insomnia and I walk the drifting hallways, empty rooms behind paling doors one after another after another and another. The man behind the desk resumes his pornography habit as soon as I’ve checked in and the hotel bar isn’t open on Tuesdays. In the lobby is a crooked rack stuffed full of road maps to all the places I have no reason to go.

There’s no such place as Mittens, Kentucky and no one riding shotgun in the car. But there is the lingering smell of her cigarettes and the lipstick she left in the glove box and enough memories to keep me driving for another night.