Note: This is a slight detour into a fiction experiment. Yes, fiction. Sometimes I write fiction. Sometimes.
A lot of the times I write non-fiction, but I try new things and fail every once and a while, just to remember I’m human and still have enough padding (literal and figurative) to fall upon.
Sometimes this results in a mini-fail that leads to a revelation; sometimes it’s a spectacular one that leads to the thought “I’m never doing that again. Ever.”
Hoping it’s not the latter on this one, but some sort of sweet spot of learning but being also able to fall off the balance beam without any major injuries sort of learning experiment.
We’ll see. I guess it will all come out in the wash, right?
Meanwhile–putting my money where my mouth is (and yes, on the internet!) as I frequently tell others to just try, be bold–well, here are I am too. For better or worse.
The Evening Ride
Mrs. Bryant, never referred to by her first name in some fifty-odd years, flies over the speed bumps like her hair’s on fire. She succumbs to nothing like always. Her butter, unlike the ordinary rest of us, does not contain toast crumbs and she is always early to church.
Angie clocks Mrs. Bryant this evening going eighty-five on 98, the divided two-lane highway that leads out of town. The speed limit has been sixty-five for over twenty years.
Della, who has four children, a husband, a mortgage and a van, smokes non-filters slowly in the early evening on her drive to Babe’s Ice Cream Shack in Little Spring. By day, she’s a tour de force that makes all her children eat ALL the vegetables on their plates despite of (or because of, it’s rumored) their groans. She has the laundry crisply folded and put away by the time she pushes her ’55 red convertible down the driveway, careful not to wake her littlest – a three-year-old – before she hits the road. Beautiful Cole is either none the wiser that Della always has to “visit a friend” in the hospital every Thursday night, or like most men, he is but prudent enough not to say a thing as to his wife’s whereabouts.
Bob idles along as he always does, four miles under the speed limit in a truck with bad shocks and rust.
Sam spends his evenings taking Pecan on long walks under the weeping willows and cypress trees near the park. When Sam’s wife is in that no talking sort of inhospitable mad mood, Angie notices him much later passed out on the porch swing, gently swaying. One mocha hand rests on his chest and the other dangles grazing Pecan’s fur, who rests under the swing. Evidently, both locked out for the remainder of the evening.
Tina, Gerdie’s granddaughter, drives in consecutive right turns all night and smacks gum.
Jack, whose wife believes he might have early Alzheimers, gets out on full moons and tries for the city limits to worlds and delights beyond Haven. Most of the others believe he’s part wolf; just sort of odd and restless. Even though his wife has yet to accept as much about him after fifty years.
Stacy from Thousand Oaks Drive and the principal at the local high school speeds all the time and makes no bones about it.
Dana, the skinniest, oldest white lady in town, scuttles off to Hal’s Chicken Drive-Thru at dusk. She eats a whole bucket of fried chicken while looking out to the sunset over 98, right about the time the old gaslight lamp sputters on, highlighting her activities for the whole town to see.
Janey waits for Rick to come home from Blue’s again tonight. Angie sighs as she bites into a melty Twix that she pulled out from the console. I can only control disorder, she thinks to herself, and even then, not so much. If only I could put the world in the order in which it rightly belongs.
Angie remembers Janey at 17, showing off her corsage to Angie, begging for her to take a sniff of the small pale pink roses she received from Rick. She recalls the same sheer delight on Janey’s face when her first child was born.
From the opposite corner of the street, she watches the porch in her rear-view mirror for the tell-tale glow as Janey pulls out a cigarette and the embers highlight her worried face and chipped red nail polish. Angie makes a right turn as she turns off Arching Oak with a sigh, wishing for a better life for her friend.
But Angie knows. Angie has always known.
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