فصل 19

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فصل 19

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Chapter nineteen

The Last Goodbye

When Dean arrived in New York with the divorce papers in his hands, he and Inez immediately got married. And that night he told her that everything was all right and not to worry - and then he jumped on a bus and rushed off across the country to San Francisco to join Camille and the two baby girls. So now he was married three times, twice divorced, and living with his second wife.

In the fall I came home from Mexico City. And one night I was standing in a dark street in Manhattan and I called up to a window where I thought my friends were having a party. But a pretty girl put her head out of the window and said, “Yes? Who is it?”

“Sal Paradise,” I said.

“Come on up,” she said. “I’m making hot chocolate.”

So I went up and there she was, the girl with the pure and innocent eyes I had always searched for. We agreed to love each other madly. Her name was Laura. In the winter we planned to go to San Francisco, and I wrote to Dean and told him. Dean wrote back a long, long letter to say that he was coming to get me, and that he would personally choose the truck to drive us and our furniture home. We had six weeks to save the money for the truck. But then Dean arrived five and a half weeks early, and nobody had any money for the truck.

“Why did you come so soon, Dean?” I asked.

“Oh - so soon, yes.” He looked at me strangely “We - that is, I don’t know. Of course, Sal, I can talk as soon as ever, and I have many things to say to you, and we still haven’t talked of Mexico and my leaving you there in a fever - but no need to talk. Absolutely, now, yes?” And then he talked crazily for three hours about his trip.

“What about Camille?” I asked him eventually.

“Said OK, of course - waiting for me. Camille and I all straight for ever-and-ever…”

“And Inez?”

“I - I want her to come back to San Francisco with me and live the other side of town - don’t you think?” He looked puzzled suddenly. “Don’t know why I came.” Later he said, “Well, yes, of course, I wanted to see your sweet girl and - love you as ever.”

He stayed in New York three days. He spent one night with Inez explaining and fighting, and then she threw him out. A letter came for him to me. It was from Camille.

“My heart broke when I saw you go away… I want Sal and his friend to come and live in the same street… I pray you’ll get back safely… I can’t help worrying… dear Dean, it’s the end of the first half of the century. Welcome with love and kisses to spend the other half with us. We all wait for you. Signed, Camille, Amy, and Little Joanie.”

The last time I saw Dean it was under sad and strange circumstances. Remi Boncoeur had arrived in New York after a round-the-world trip, and I wanted him to meet Dean. They did meet, but Dean couldn’t talk any more and said nothing. Remi had tickets for a Duke Ellington concert, and insisted that Laura and I went with him and his girl. He had his Cadillac outside, ready to take us.

“Goodbye, Dean,” I said. “I wish I didn’t have to go to the concert.”

“Can I ride to Fortieth Street with you?” he whispered. “Want to be with you as much as possible, and it’s so cold here in New York…” I whispered to Remi. No, he wouldn’t take Dean, he liked me but he didn’t like my crazy friend.

So Dean couldn’t ride with us, and the only thing I could do was sit at the back of the Cadillac and wave at him. The last I saw of him was when he went around the corner of Seventh Avenue. I had told everything about Dean to Laura, and now she almost began to cry.

“Oh, we shouldn’t let him go like this,” she said. “What shall we do?”

Old Dean’s gone, I thought, then said, “He’ll be all right.” So off we went to the sad concert, and all the time I was thinking of Dean and how he got back on the train to ride over three thousand miles across the country, and never knew why he had come anyway, except to see me.

So in America when the sun goes down and I sit and watch the long skies over New Jersey and think about the land that rolls away to the West Coast, and all that road, and all the people dreaming on it, I think of Dean Moriarty.

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