The cool burn of liquor sloshed down Reggie’s throat, the comforting fire of familiarity dancing happily through his being. He dropped the bottle into a stained cup holder, and a splash of liquid spattered droplets across his paint-stained jeans. The man chuckled, leaning back into the molded cushion of his moth-eaten seat, his hands strewn lazily over the worn wheel of the Freightliner. The truck careened smoothly over Route 50, incandescent headlights the only illumination for miles. The gray Nevada desert rolled out to the horizon, fading into the bases of shadowy mountains in the west.
Reggie rolled down a grimy window, welcoming the fabric of cool desert air that caressed his skin. He smiled, the wind swiping his gray hair across his cheek. He took another swig and looked finally at his wedding ring, rusted and plain under the inky Nevada sky. It mocked him from its settlement on his finger, stuck in place by rolls of loose skin that seemed to have grown around it. The ring hadn’t moved in 30 years. In one swift motion, Reggie plucked the bind from his heart and tossed it out the window, sending a mouthful of spit in its wake. Dry wind thrust the ring into the lagging path of tire tracks. Reggie guffawed, and with another douse of singing fire down his throat, he leaned over the steering wheel and pressed the gas pedal to the floor, the past being covered with dust like dark snow.
When the truck skid its way around a bend in the road, two lights blossomed on the rocky horizon. Reggie squinted at the bright orbs bouncing along the highway, and finished off the bottle with a satisfied burp. He shifted in his seat, hands resting on the steering wheel idly. His eyelids, heavy from thrill of escape, fluttered closed.
We saw the truck. The eighteen-wheeler sped intimidatingly over the road, its journey purposeful and eager. Our radio sang out the tunes of our youth as cards were passed around, the same games being replayed tirelessly as we sailed across the west, invincible rebellion glinting in our eyes. Laughs and Doritos were exchanged across three rows of seats, brothers and sisters bonding over memories that were more important than blood. Kisses were shared as the desert opened up the world before us, the road to nowhere leading us on our journey to everywhere. The stars spelled out our future in constellations, and we walloped in the joy of endless possibility. Zacch, his hands firm on the steering wheel, glanced over his shoulder bearing the smile of someone who didn’t have a care in the world. It was then that the beaming headlights of the truck darted into our lane, blinding our vision and our dreams.
The past became covered with dust like dark snow.
© 2016, Annalie Buscarino. All rights reserved.
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