Chapter 18: Needle in a haystack


Nature carries plenty of unwanted drama, most of which becomes inspirational. With Death Valley unfolding well below sea level before him, the view from Towne Pass at 4,956 feet was dramatic as it was inspiring. Robert recalled when, on a cross country trip, he had made a side excursion into what he dubbed the Devil’s Cauldron. In the summer heat, his car overheated on a Death Valley road. The vehicle was salvaged, but not the short-lived romance that had inspired his journey west from Boston.

At the viewpoint, Robert shouted out her name, “Cheryl,” as if to spit out a long-lost memory: the entwined bitterness of betrayal and revenge. His life with Xochi had been otherwise: without the need to create a defense, nor be in doubt. It is why he was then overcome with guilt at not breaking down the door into their bedroom. I was not with you when I should have been, he confessed and revved up the motorcycle. Abruptly, he let go of his grip on the brake and screeched onto the road, rushing toward the Devil’s Cauldron.


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