As in,

Amanda had landed softly on what she thought would be the perfect place for her. It was the gentle and deep isolation of the Cavern Suite, deep in the Toroweap limestone formation beneath Seligman, Arizona.

“Freedom” was a great read, even better than she expected from the glowing reviews. But still she was restless and even when she grew tired of reading, she couldn’t sleep.

Finally, at 4:20 a.m., she couldn’t help herself from calling her mother in Manhattan where, like clockwork, Imogene was beginning her day with the New York Times, a halved pink grapefruit with a light dusting of powdered sugar, and an “everything” bagel with lox.

“It’s me,” Amanda announced.

“Who?” Imogene asked.

“Me, Amanda.”

“Oh my God, Amanda,” her mother replied. “What are you up to?”

And that was Amanda’s cue to relay the whole story, from the demise of Martin & Martina to the trip, to her now having isolated herself, in bed, deep below the surface of the American Southwest.

It was the part about being out of a job, unemployed, that caused Imogene to flip the silver spoon out of her luscious but pleasantly tart grapefruit. She was furious, and berated her daughter, once again, for trying to be a sit-com writer in a world where the riches went to the lawyers and the money marketers.

“I can’t for the life of God imagine what you’re thinking,” Imogene yelled into the phone. “When are you going to get a real life!”

“Well, ma,” Amanda explained, trying to parcel out her words in order to ameliorate the conversation. “Just because it’s not a choice you would make doesn’t mean it’s not real. It’s pretty real to me.”

“Amanda, dear, you’re really pissing me off,” her mom replied. “I love you, but I can’t talk to you any more. Not right now.”

With that, Imogene simply hung up.

By now it was only 4:25 and a half, and Amanda’s┬áday was ruined, even though she didn’t really know what day it was.

“Missing,” she wrote on a legal pad illuminated by a candle-shaped night light. “2009 Saturn Vue, dark gray with ‘Hope is the thing with the feathers,’ written in white script on the driver’s side. Five passengers. Four men, one woman, one yellow Labrador retriever with a red bandana around its neck. Last seen near Seligman, Arizona, headed north toward the Grand Canyon. Contact Amanda at 424-609-0005.”

Historic Seligman Sundries building and a 1972...
Image via Wikipedia

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