I-70

I am not entirely sure how I got home last night, only that I thought about God the whole time.

Not the famous one, someone else.

I had eaten the highway in a blur, exits and mile markers collecting on my tongue. Bitter. The kind of taste that makes you swear off farmer’s market fruit for a while. Eyes wide, I cranked the AC as high as it would go, lips blanching as the blood retreated back to my heart. White fingers curled around the steering wheel, music pounding like a pulse – I’m alive I’m alive I’m alive I’m aliiiiiive – and I shifted in and out. I was in the car, then I was nowhere, another mouth in the void, open and yawning. Panicked.

It is dangerous to be this way. I know.

His given name was Quinn, but I found him deep in someone else’s emotional entanglement, and she called him God. He wasn’t particularly religious, so I can’t place the nickname’s origin. He took it in stride – after all, who among us has not craved some level of worship?

I thought of Quinn’s hat first and that brought me back. I always imagine it as a newsboys cap – olive-green or khaki, maybe, and frayed. Dark framed glasses sat underneath, never askew, above a smile that never graced his lips when I was around. I was four years younger, too eager to be a part of a joke that was never mine.

A burst of red light snapped me more fully into the car. Someone had slammed on the breaks, so I did too. Traffic is not a place to express one’s individuality.

God never struggled with that. He poured over his fish eye lenses, capturing people and moments with a deftness I could not hope to recreate. Quinn was so unique (but in the way that every handsome boy can be). I don’t know what he does now. He doesn’t even remember I existed, you know, I’m almost sure of it. It’s funny how we do that to people. We cannot possibly remember everyone we’ve met – not without enormous cost, and I have accepted this.

I don’t know why I fixated on Quinn. We spoke all of twenty words and most of those were me squealing his nickname as we passed in the halls.

Frigid fingers tugged a hood over my head, pulling my jacket closed as if to doubly hide in the darkness. I wished I wasn’t alone. That’s the worst part, to be honest, that touch-and-go loneliness. It sinks its nails into my skin and yanks downward. I am continuously left in ribbons. The silence stretches me out in the worst ways.

He took someone else to the prom. I don’t know if my friend had wanted to go with him, but I imagine she would’ve said yes if he asked. I didn’t call him God after that. I didn’t call him anything.

I can’t imagine that he even noticed.

 

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