This week's sentence - from Vladimir Nabokov's 'Lolita':
"And again next day a thinly populated sky, losing its blue to the heat, would melt overhead, and Lo would clamour for a drink, and her cheeks would hollow vigorously over the straw, and the car inside would be a furnace when we got in again, and the road shimmered ahead, with a remote car changing its shape mirage-like in the surface glare, and seeming to hang for a moment, old-fashionedly square and high, in the hot haze."
And again next day a thinly populated sky, losing its blue to the heat, would melt overhead, and Lo would clamour for a drink, and her cheeks would hollow vigorously over the straw, and the car inside would be a furnace when we got in again, and the road shimmered ahead, with a remote car changing its shape mirage-like in the surface glare, and seeming to hang for a moment, old-fashionedly square and high, in the hot haze.
Now, far ahead, floating way above the horizon lay a blue line that spoke of the Sierras.
Another long day of burning heat stretched ahead of us; the sun blistering the car's ancient paintwork, beating like hammers on the hot metal, baking Lo and Mary and me as the wheezing remains of the air-conditioner sucked our mouths and throats dry of what little moisture we might have hoarded.
I recalled the last time we'd driven west.
Aunt Sarah's funeral.
The shrivelled up faces of relatives I'd not seen in twenty years staring disapprovingly at the boy who'd gone east to make his fortune, now returned like the prodigal in his tired clothes and junkheap car with that pinch-faced woman of his and their poor little girl in hand-me-downs.
Now here we were again, making a final marathon pilgrimage across this vast and unforgiving continent, back to the bosom of my loving family, the sneers and sniffy asides: "I always said he'd come to nothing."
I glanced across at Lo.
My shot at redemption.
She at least would appreciate the weather out here.
I felt a momentary shiver of pleasure in the stifling heat; a fleeting chill of bitter winter winds howling off Lake Michigan, biting at my baby's fingers; fern fronds of frost creeping across the insides of the windows in our dank refrigerator of an apartment.
I almost missed it.
I almost missed the roar and clatter of the el, shaking our restless sleep as we huddled together for warmth.
Here the sun burned the colours from the world.
We sat: me hunched over the wheel, Mary sagging into her seat, drained, Lo leaning forward, her pale grey eyes missing nothing; a mute triumvirate as the parched world rolled by us and the old engine droned.
Here a flyblown motel; a single black dog watching us from the dusty parking lot; an empty pool.
There a trailer set back from the highway; threadbare wire fence corralling a world in miniature; baked clothes limp on a washing line; the rusted corpses of cars littering the yard.
And after all the miles; after all the years; our own trailer and a part-time job for me, stacking shelves in my uncle's store.
My old life …
Lo's new life …
I watched the distant line of the mountains slowly drift downward, knowing that when it finally fell and locked itself to the landscape there would be no turning back, and secretly wishing it would stay, hanging up there in the haze forever.