Monday, January 23, 2012

All the Way to Disney World

Your father could have shut the engine off and lit up a Camel, and you could have coasted all the way to Disney World, the warm wind wafting through the open windows, the wind lifting your sombreros up a little, then working its way out the window again.
John Hodgen,
"After The Reading, Driving Back to Massachusetts With Jim Bescht, I Think Of The Men Who Hold The World In Their Hand"

Except your dad smoked Winchesters—little cigars, they were called—and your mom smoked Kents one after another. And you had only one brother. He sat in the back seat while you rode in the way-back, staring at where you had come from. You had no sombrero. You organized your things. Tried to sleep. Counted miles. Told yourself stories. You imagined who you might be someday.

I see you looking backward at me through the windshield. I wave. But there’s no way to communicate. No way to tell you the secrets of what you will become. I look at your face. I know you. I remember. I miss you so much.

The car stalls. I pull over. Lean my head back and close my eyes. There’s nothing I could tell you anyway. You’re already so far away. Your brother wants you to listen to something. Your mother passes a sandwich back. Your father drives. You ask, how much farther, Dad? He says, it’s a ways away. I can’t remember if you believe him or if you feel sure that you will never arrive. The road is so long, forward and back, moving fast or sitting still.