Monday, 10 December 2018

The Woman Down the Road

by Mara Buck

There is a woman, lives in the trailer park down that side road by the lightning-blasted oak, beyond the Shell station. She has a Trump sign in front of her trailer and her trailer is festooned with forever Christmas lights. Some still light up; most don’t. She is anxious about a lot of things so she smokes generic filters and she has I don’t know how many kids and her nose looks like it’s been broken more than once.

I’ve seen her sweeping up at night at the Walmart in town. I doubt she earns back her cigarette money, but she can use her employee discount for the kids’ clothes. She needs Hillary’s presidency more than you or I, but the saddest thing is, she doesn’t know it, may never know it. She’s afraid Hillary will come and take that Taurus handgun right out from under her pillow. She ordered it online, liked that the name was the same as her birth sign. If she loses the gun, how can she sleep at night? Then what’ll she do if her husband comes back? She’s got a restraining order but that never stopped him before. Then it’ll be Hillary’s fault, just like Mr. Trump says. Hillary will take away her job and give it to some damn immigrant. Hillary will take her food stamps and give them to some Muslims who will rape her in her trailer while she watches her stories, and she won’t have her gun because Hillary will have taken it. Mr. Trump will fix it all. She’ll be secure with Mr. Trump. He’s promised.

The woman has no name because she’s a stereotype, but she’s real enough. I live in rural Maine where there are many women like this, women without a future, whose kids trudge down the same muddy road to the same trailer they’ll inherit one day. I’m her friend, but she’ll never know that.

I myself am just a shout away from that trailer. I live below the poverty line because I spent my life savings saving my life from cancer, despite insurance, so I have to shop at the Walmart even though I hate it and wish I could boycott it. I don’t smoke and I don’t have kids, but I admit there are times when a gun under the pillow might make me sleep easier. Maybe not. Probably not. I’m much better educated, but I’m not far away from this woman. And I would guess many of us live closer to her than we’d like to admit.

So I dedicate my no-Trump vote to her and to all those women in all those trailers, in all those cheap rental units, and in all those houses with the peeling paint and the mismatched siding. To all those without the education to crawl out of their holes. To all those who’ve pinned the hopes of a lifetime onto a shifty con-man who sells the snake-oil of hate, who promises to make the future great for himself and his kind, who waves the gilded carrot of prosperity—while the woman in the trailer sinks deeper into the surrounding mud, while her Christmas lights flicker out one by one. 

Epilogue: Now the election of our lives has ended and we still stagger with the shock. Despite the cuts in services, the loss of jobs, the rancor and the hate and the groans of the dying earth, the woman in the trailer has recently posted a crudely illustrated sign “Trump can grab my P….” Even the resounding message of the midterm elections has had no effect on this woman. Her sign is a bit more weathered, but today she has hung fresh Christmas lights to illuminate the message.

I swallow hard and I drive on into darkness, feeling that I’ve lost a friend I never had.

* * * * *

"The Woman Down the Road" was previously published on 10/23/16 at

Mara Buck writes and rants in a self-constructed hideaway in the Maine woods. News Flash—2018 winner of The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Prize! Other recent firsts include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Poetry Prize, The Binnacle International Prize. Awarded/short-listed by Faulkner-Wisdom, Hackney, Balticon, Confluence, and others. Publications include Hektoen International Medical Journal, HuffPost, Crack the Spine, Blue Fifth, Pithead Chapel, Tishman, Whirlwind, and numerous print anthologies. Current projects include the ubiquitous novel and a collection of strange stories of Maine. 

No comments:

Post a Comment