They dont call it Badlands because its nice

As he finished putting gas in the car, she asked if she should buy more water. He said it was up to her. It depended on whether she wanted to die of thirst or over-hydration.

On the way there she asked if she could listen to talk radio. He didn’t mind, he told her, as long as he didn’t have to hear it.

Silence rode along with them most of the way. She speculated that the area must have been beautiful once. He let it go without comment.

When they arrived at the park she commented on the barren landscape. He told her it would be like walking on the Moon, only she wouldn’t die. Probably.

As they hiked the length of the lava flow, she told him she thought it was like some alien landscape, like something on one of the volcanic moons of Jupiter. This confirmed his initial description of the area. He pointed this out to her, only it came out, I told you so.

She thought this agreement would please him. Everyone likes to be told they are right, she believed. But he seemed unimpressed by the observation. I told you so.

They stopped at the highest point of the lava bed, which was still well below most of the area. The vast black field of frozen lava sat in the bottom of an earthen bowl. Spots of green could be seen along the rim.

He looked around and told her he liked this place because it reflected how he felt inside. Desolate. Deserted. Just spots of green life here and there. The barren wasted landscape reminded him of his own heart, he told her. El yermo es mi corazón, mi corazón es mi yermo.

She left him standing there, walked back to the car and then sat alone on the hood smoking cigarettes. It was an hour before he finally came back. She made sure to finish the whole pack but still be smoking one when he returned.

Can I get one of those? he asked her.

I’m all out, she told him

What do you want to do now? Where do you want to go?

Let’s go to a cemetery, she answered.

He knew a good one not far away.