The construction truck in the opposing lane, exceeding the speed limit, careers into my lane and right at me. I am immobile, staring, my hand not getting the signal to blast the horn. I might manage to dive onto the shoulder but the truck’s driver stops doing whatever distracted him and sees me and, with two car lengths between us, slides back into the correct lane. We pass each other and continue as we were.
Standing before a group of strangers is the closest thing Angela has to achieving her dreams or making her mark on the world. She seesaws her arm, delivers a joke about a merman who pools his money with a sea urchin to get a triton.
On the first two days, we did what they called shadow dumps. Several of us were in training. We followed people around outside different government buildings and watched them pick up litter and trash.
Mom and I are driving to camp and playing the game where we think of jobs I could one day have that won’t compromise my condition. That’s how she phrases it. Mom and I spend a lot of time avoiding things that might compromise my condition.
Sam asks, “What are we doing here?” and you don’t know if he means here, in Flanders, or more generally, here on God’s green earth, which here, in Flanders is not green but mud-covered and cratered and incapable of sending up any other crop but barbed wire. Or if he means still here, at the edge of this pit—because the horse that was drowning in the mire is now still.
The premonition hits as I walk down Park Street to the university. One foot up in the air and bamm! Knocks me back like a punch in the gut or a mysterious pain in the chest. A premo that sends a chill down my spine despite the warm spring morning. I try to shake it off. I have things to do.
Dennis can’t believe Terry and I will give up a vacation day to visit the family cemetery, but once I convince him that I’m not kidding, there is silence on the phone.
The night before I became a failed salesman, I was wired and awake in Derek’s room, gazing out his window, reading his Anatomy textbook, and eating peanut butter with a knife.
The cut ran fifty yards, a scar halfway up the hillside. The cut scoured by glaciers, or so the boy had been told. He climbed atop a boulder larger than a car, and he imagined the hill and all he knew entombed in ice.
John used to say that we were millionaires, but now we might lose the house. Tommy, our oldest, and his wife, Ashleigh, plan to buy us out.