I maneuvre my Schwinn Ten-Speed Racer around all the established potholes, black ice and rotted roadkill that lay in my path. A mass of gray stony sky looms above, mirroring the stretch of road that lies before me. I have become too familiar with these two miles or so of bleak service road that connects North Edison to South, and more importantly, connects me to Durham Road and The Galaxy Diner. As I make my descent down the sloping asphalt, my bike begins to pick up startling speed, making the twenty-something air temperature feel more like forty-fucking below. I sit rigid and hyper-alert, letting the winds pound against me. Tears run down my cheeks and solidify into a salty paste that sting like hot wax on my skin. I tighten the drawstring of my hoodie and button the top button of my fleece-lined Lee corduroy jacket, momentarily navigating the bike with my knees. As I cruise through the turnpike underpass, I let out a strategically timed scream to hear the sound of my voice echo into the abyss, as if convincing myself and anything else with ears that I am, for the moment, still very much alive.
I must’ve told the story of where I’m from, why I came here, nearly every night for the first few months. Most people do, when there’s a new person that’s the first thing we usually ask them, “So how did you end up here?” As I became more known and recognised faces I would only talk to tourists about it, if I’d already had a few drinks and they’d asked.
They had teased about it often, but Sophia chickened out. Alone, I stand on a dirt road that hasn’t seen traffic for miles. I curse myself for not sticking around long enough to learn how to drive.
My pal’s orange Datsun was riddled with bullet holes. The passenger door was a mess. There were between 12 and 21 spaces where the body shop mechanic had had to drill to knock out dents from the impact of an oncoming pickup. Rich could afford the holes but not the patches.
Ry thought his heart was shattered beyond repair. Five weeks before he was leaving for college his girlfriend of fourteen months broke up with him to date some creep she met at an under ages show. Ry’s uncle, Lee was visiting from Meridian, Louisiana. Ry never understood why, but the family never went to visit him.