Fargo, ND

Sandy was a hooker. But she’s not anymore.
            When I picked her up in my ’76 Chevy van, she said she was going to Chicago. Once we got to Nashville, though, she just asked where I was headed. I told her Fargo. I’ve only been to Fargo once, and all I saw there was the Greyhound station, directly across the street from a titty bar. I wasn’t really going to Fargo, but she said she’d go, and offered to pay for gas.
            Now that I think of it, it was pretty strange that I don’t remember anything about Fargo except the titty bar. I decided that we should go to that titty bar. It became our destination. I hadn’t had a destination before.
            About halfway through Kentucky, we started joking about getting married. By the time we were through Wisconsin, we had started calling one another “honey” and talking about our kids and the bills. She told me that I was going to have to get a better job than the one I had, which was none.
            “Diapers ain’t free,” she said.
            I told her that she needed a better job too—what kind of example was she setting for little Junebug? At this she told me that if I had gotten a damn job when she got pregnant, she wouldn’t have had to peddle her ass. I was pissed at first, but then I figured she was right and promised I would do better.
            By the time we got to Fargo, we agreed that she would jump on the pole one last time, just to get us enough money to settle into our new place. I told her it wouldn’t be for long because I would have a job lined up in a week at the most.
            She said, “I know, baby. I know.”
Jessi Walker grew up in the South and likes to see how far away from home she can get before she runs out of gas. She sometimes writes things that your teacher would have taken up if you got caught reading it in school. Jessi teaches English and studies creative writing at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.
Photography by Eleanor Leonne Bennett.