“You’ll never see mom again.” Your dad used to say this with a crooked little grin.
Every time you would cry, he would look confused, and you wouldn’t calm down until the highway stretched out before you. The cars were a river of sleeping beasts, their taillights like red wings cutting through the dark.
At his apartment, it smelled like asparagus. The whole space looked cluttered and dirty. It was your post-divorce world.
His took pills, you ate roast beef. The second course had always been sticky sweet pecan bread that sat in your stomach like glue.
Sometimes, you would cry until he drove you home. It fed your guilt and your gratitude until you could barely tell the difference between them anymore, like twin streams feeding into the same ocean.
Maybe that was where it all started, this lifelong penitence. You went back to those moments rather than the ones that left him bruised and bloody. The ones that cast him under a black sky, crushed inside a car while his son died on the road.
You often wondered if he had been conscious in those last moments.
Sometimes, you hoped he fell asleep. Other times, you wanted to grab him and scream.
Sometimes, most of the time, you wanted to take his hand and tell him you were sorry.
When it became too much, you went back to the start.
Parked near his old apartment and slipped past the wild vines that grew around the chain-link fence. Stepped onto the empty highway and pretended it was night again, pretended you were crying, flanked by white comets and glowing red wings.
Pretended you didn’t know how this would all go.
Alyssa Jordan is a writer living in the United States. She pens literary horoscopes for F(r)iction Series. Her stories can be found or are forthcoming in The Sunlight Press, X–R-A-Y Literary Magazine, South Broadway Ghost Society, Blind Corner Literary Magazine, and more. You can find her on Twitter @ajordan901 and Instagram @ajordanwriter.