I take Delilah to Flintstone Village in Custer for miniature golf. She has never played. Twenty foot Bam-Bam and Pebbles loom over stone houses made with painted styrofoam and a sound track plays Fred shouting “Willlmaaaa!” and “Yabba Dabba Doo” every fifteen minutes. Friendly dinosaurs and carts with stone wheels are scattered on the lawn. Delilah is bewildered. She asks if this is what you do to get laid in Chicago. “Sometimes,” I say. “Sometimes.”
We drive back to Cuny Table where we first met. She gets out of the car and a strong gust, a pickpocket wind, blows her hair straight back, almost parallel to the ground. I’m sorry I didn’t have my camera ready. The blue ribbon in her hair comes loose, and the wind takes it over the dry clay and into a shallow ravine. She makes no move to retrieve it, just a wave goodbye as though this was the ribbon’s destiny. This I did capture, and whenever I look at the photograph, I pretend the wave is for me.
Cheekbone scar, nose bent slightly to the right, deep gray eyes, rough chopped hair, chipped tooth, gangly walk, crooked little fingers, impossibly long neck, stutter when excited, quick to anger. These are not flaws. They are lures, charms, ornaments.
I’m on my second vodka and ginger ale. Delilah has had five, but as always, she’s steady and lucid. We sit in cheap plastic chairs at the edge of a greasy motel pool near Sturgis. We talk about Vietnam and she mentions a cousin killed at Hue and a childhood friend crippled at Dac To. She opens the second fifth and ignores the ginger ale. The light turns golden as does Delilah’s skin. A large praying mantis lands on a nearby table. “It’s a love animal,” she declares, and takes a long drink from her tumbler. “I wonder who it is here for?”
Then I say something foolish.
“Ikto-mi is on your shoulder,” Delilah replies. “He spits in your ear. He is making a fool of you, and he’s not even working very hard.” I don’t feel him there, and I don’t feel foolish, but I suppose that’s how tricksters earn their names. I never ask her to come to Chicago again.