Trouble Child
art + literary magazine

Art + Lit

Three Miles of Bad Road

we are three minutes into three miles of bad road (teeth clattering) and i can’t speak without a tremor in my voice. i would say the tremor is from the potholes, but she, she, is talking just fine. these shaking bones of mine are fear with its favorite mask on, so i can curse the hands and their neon vests that laid this asphalt, blame them for this sleepy-grinning terror as she turns to me, head leaning back against the headrest, the rattle blurring her edges. i wonder if i haven’t created her to fill the emptiness, a daydream except for the big gulp she spilled down her t-shirt hours ago and i swear i can still smell it in the air. i want to touch her with sticky fingers (though i do not dare).

we are four minutes into three miles of bad road and i don’t care about the metal we are leaving behind. the tires pop and she calls them fireworks, shifts her sharp shoulders and the windows shatter and i realize this whole time i haven’t thought of turning around. love has become the eraser of invention for me (door handles and turn signals and the brakes—the mere concept of slowing down). the bumpers are clashing. i mean crashing. (i don’t know what i mean except she is a collision i had time to avoid but didn’t). i am a crash dummy with a mouth that can only say yes. (yes i’ll take you anywhere you ask and yes i’ll run this red light and yes this road can be our grave and yes i mean it). yes and yes and yes.

we are five minutes into three miles of bad road and i can’t remember the sound of the engine. must have lost it while she was laughing. there goes the steering wheel. the back seat. all the things i loved before her. minutes from now i will be in the middle of the road, skidding across poorly-laid asphalt with this machine, and i won’t have thought once of getting out of the goddamn car.

Addison Rizer is in her senior year at Arizona State University studying English with certificates in LGBT studies and editing. She has had short stories and plays published in Canyon VoicesAnatolios Magazine, Kingdoms in the Wild, and Strange Creatures. She loves stories of identity, dissatisfaction, and movies that critics hate.