Bubba went to every store in town that took checks for over the purchase amount. A Reese’s cup plus ten over, a soda plus five. At Lowe’s Foods he bought a 2 pound bag of peppermint disks and got a twenty-dollar bill back as change. He sat in the parking lot with his minty fresh breath counting money. Just over $100.00. With the full tank he bounced another check for, Bubba had enough gas and cash to make it from Blacksburg to Va. Beach. And back…maybe.

He turned his small pick up into the trailer park, careful to miss the green trash can sleeping in the middle of the one paved road throughout. He pulled in next to their weather warped deck and cut the knocking engine. Bubba’s green eyes surveyed the trailer. He waited to hear music, the TV, or crying. Anything. The silence upset him though he knew noise would’ve been just as off-putting. He worked his tall bulky frame out of the truck and stepped softly up the six steps. He stood on the deck. Bubba saw the torn diaper package and knew he was doing the right thing.
“Everyone needs to getaway sometime.” he said.

The smell of cigarettes and kerosene met Bubba as he entered. Ruckus, their tabby, ran towards him, mewing.
“Honey, didju feed Ruckus?” He looked towards the hall leading to the bedrooms. He put the store bags on the kitchen peninsula. Dumping cat food into an old Cool Whip container, he spoke to the silent hallway.
“Honey, you wanna go ta the beach? You said last night we oughtta getaway…we can go today if you wanna…”
Bubba walked down the narrow hallway, the brown paneling bowed out to meet his shoulders.

She was wearing a stained, blue shirt with TALLADEGA written across the back. Her hair extended down to the small of her back. She sat on the edge of the bed smoking a cigarette. Bubba could smell her from across the room.
What’s it been, 3-4 days since she showered up? he thought.

“Honey, you wanna go to the beach? I got some money and time, if you wanna go? Truck’s all full up with gas and everything.”
She reached down to the floor in front of her and picked up a diaper. She held it up so Bubba could see the name “Marie Faith” written across the unused material.
“You like Marie Faith? It’s a pretty name for a girl ain’t it Daddy?”
“Yeah, honey it sure is…You gotta boy’s name today?”
“Butch Carson Linkous…that’s a good boy’s name ain’t it Daddy?”
She lifted another diaper. It had blue trim at the top.
“Yeah, honey it sure is…you wanna go see the beach today? You always been wantin’ to go and I got some money and time. Truck’s full o’ gas.”
“I know you ain’t got no money. We got too many babies for you to have money…”
“I got some extra money Mama.”
She turned to look at him. Her face was gaunt with tired dark blue eyes. Thin lips puffed white smoke as she said,
“Bubba. You never call me Mama. Not since. That’s not nice.”
“I’m sorry Honey.”
“Did you make hotel reservations online? That’s what people with extra money do these days. The use their computer internet stuff to make sure they got reservations.”
“I got some extra money, Honey. We can take off right now if you want. I even packed a bag last night for us.”
“Enough for food too?”
“I been shopping all morning honey. We got plenty of food for a trip to Virginia Beach.”
“I don’t have a bathing suit.”
“I betcha they sell ’em down there by the beach side.” Bubba said.
“They call it an ocean front, or a boulevard.” Honey said.
“So, you wanna go? I figure it’s about five hours ride from here.”
“I’ll shower up some.”
Bubba smiled.
“We’ll have a great time at the beach Honey.”
“Don’t forget the twins, Bubba. They need a getaway too.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

They were just outside of Bedford before either spoke. Honey kept quiet when Bubba pulled out his hand written directions.
He didn’t go the computer internet like he was supposed to… She thought. She sat in the truck’s passenger seat balancing two diapers on her knee and singing Elmo songs softly.
“Look Honey. That store has a tree growing through the roof.”
“Pay attention to the road Bubba. You gotta family to look after.”
“Ok.”

He knew there was a word for it, but didn’t know how to say it, or if it was the right word. Bubba watched the small towns drift by, places he’d only see once, maybe twice in his life. Some folks know they’ll never do much, or see many things. Bubba Linkous knew the moment he saw Honey waitressing at Denny’s she was all the world he needed to see. When he was drinking he would tell her how he saw the oceans in her deep blue eyes, snow-capped mountains on her pale flesh, and how, sometimes, her lips were as sweet and plush as a rainforest. She’d giggle. He’d say, Naw, I mean it. Love was the simplest word but he sure there was a better word for he and Honey. He just didn’t know what it was.

“I need to pee somewhere and Butch Carson wants to get out of the seat a while.” Honey said suddenly.
“Ok.” Bubba said.
He pulled into a convenience store in a town called Mahalia.
“Here…” Honey said, “…you hold the twins. You know how they don’t like strangers. Plus, all the perverts out there…”
Bubba took the diapers from Honey’s hand. She hurried inside.

The baby shower was held at the Grange out in Floyd County. Honey was excited about the pregnancy, the babies kicking, the cake, the whole shebang… Bubba was looking for cash only work when Honey came back to the trailer with dozens of gifts. When she slipped on the top step she screamed but could feel that is was useless…she never felt either of them move again. She screamed. Bubba made it to the hospital an hour later. Honey was on the bed, with two diapers in her hand. The ER Nurse said Honey wouldn’t calm down unless they gave her two diapers. It was two months later when she started writing names on them. Bubba lost track of the names and the number of diapers he’d bought on behalf of his dead twins.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

When they pulled on Atlantic Avenue, Bubba said,
“There it is Honey, just like you wanted. The Ocean. Damn, it’s huge ain’t it?”
He glanced over and saw her eyes become misty.
Bubba parked the truck outside The Commodore Travel Lodge and rushed in, handing the clerk a peppermint candy.
“This is our first real getaway, me and Honey. Everyone needs a getaway.” The motel clerk smiled despite himself. Bubba’s eyes were wide, electric. Bubba forked over $42.00 of their bounced check money and went outside to get Honey and the diapers.

Their room smelled musty but seemed clean enough to the couple. It was off-season. The beach was empty and the Boardwalk, which Bubba thought was a one-lane paved road like back home, was quiet. Honey carefully set the diapers on the bed closest to the large window. There were two beds and Honey decided the Twins would sleep farthest from the door. Bubba looked at her as she ran a hand across the top of the diaper labeled Marie Faith.
“You’re beautiful Honey.”
She turned and smiled at him.
“Thank you Bubba.”

He opened the patio door and stepped on the balcony. The chilled wind lifted off the Atlantic as Bubba marvelled at the lumbering gray ships on the horizon.
“Honey, I bet them are battleships headin’ over to Iraq. You know, I was gonna join the Navy once. Be a sailor.”
“Keep it down, the twins. Shhhh…”
“Ok.” He said.
He waited for the ships to move, and growing bored, moved his eyes up and down the beach. Back home, on TV, the sands were covered with half-dressed women, tan lifeguards, and bucket toting kids sporting sunscreened noses; but Bubba only saw the brownish-white sand of an October beach. He grinned.

He wondered why people ever built motels and hotels next to the Ocean. Who would ever sell their land to strangers and give up this view? He decided that part of his Lottery Winning dream would be to buy a beach somewhere and only visit in October. He’d take Honey and the twins along and the four of them would bet on battleship races. He popped a peppermint disk in his mouth.

Honey walked out and stood next to him.
“Oh Bubba. This is… I mean.”
“Just like you always wanted?”
“Yes.” She began to cry. “It’s so far from Home here. But still. It…”
“It feels like home to.” Bubba said.
“Yes.” She held onto him tight. He put his arm around her.
“I know this ain’t real Bubba.”
“What ain’t real?”
“This. I mean….the twins. I ain’t crazy. I know they’re just diapers with names I wrote on them.”
“Ok.”
“I just can’t…not yet…” She gripped him tighter and reached up to kiss his cheek. He felt her tears on his cold skin.
“I love you.” she whispered.
Bubba smiled as a battleship made its way across the horizon.
There was a better word for he and Honey.
He just didn’t know what it was.

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