Facing a Wasteland
You knew painting your door red would show the world how mad you were; that painting your lawn with the blue petunias would show the world how sad you were. And though you’d never let us see you, the dolls in your windows and your stone garden figurines told tales of your loneliness. Keep your curtains closed and your bricks stacked tight. It’s a mad, wild world.
It wasn’t a busy street. But what few cars there were, made up for it in speed. They were all in a rush to get from one cornfield to the next, or to race through the scent of country manure.
Two boys rode their bikes along the road in the dirt, nearly touching the edge of the asphalt with their thin 10-speed tires. The boy in the rear looked behind to watch as an approaching car passed, while his younger friend hit the brakes in front of him. The older boy’s bike lodged impossibly into the back gears of his friend, launching the rear boy forward in a messy attempt at a forward flip. While in mid air, momentum petered out and the boy and bike tipped sideways, crashing on the road, barely missing contact with the passing car. The bike’s forks, now bent in opposite directions, rendered the bike useless.
The boy was kept safe from the cornfield chaser. Years later he’d be hit by a car. But not today. Not on this street.
The Night is Long and Cold and Deep - Terry M. West