“Do you still remember when we used to let you feed the fish in our pond”?

“Yes…I do.”

“You were always excited.  It became a routine.  When I came home from work, you and your mom would be in the front yard, making chalk drawings on the driveway, or walking around the neighborhood, but when Katy and I came home from work, it was time to feed the fish and you always wanted pickles.”

“Yes, I remember.  Pickles still remind me of our old house.  And fish.  That pond, it still reminds me of being a kid.”

“Do you ever drive by your old house?”

“I mean, I haven’t yet, but maybe now, or someday…I don’t know.  I guess it never seemed so important until now.  I mean, do you?”

I let out a long exhale, wishing that the end would never arrive.  When I open my eyes, our driver had left the highway.

“I always go back to places I’ve lived.  I don’t know if that’s something normal people do.  But I do it.  Once, when I was younger, I went back to the house that I grew up in, and knocked on the door.  The family that owned it let me come in, like they probably still would to this day because it was such a small town.  The only thing I wanted to see was if the teeth marks on the window sill in the kitchen were still there.”

“Teeth marks?”

“I remember when I was 3 or 4, while my mom was talking on the phone, I would knaw on the kitchen window sill.  The marks were still there.  Painted over, but still there.”

“Why did you care?”

“I don’t know exactly.  I guess that’s what you’d call nostalgia.  It didn’t mean anything at the time, but somehow it became important to me.  Such is life.”


“Do you mind if I draw?”

“Why would I?”

“I don’t know, it’s just Dad, he always wanted family time in the car or something.  He didn’t like it if I drew.  He always wanted the perfect little vacation”

“It doesn’t bother me.”



“Why doesn’t it bother you?”

“Why should it.  It’s your time, why should I tell you what to do with it?”

“I don’t know.  It’s just, it always seemed that I’m supposed to be doing something expected.  Something I don’t really want to do, or care to do, but was just the thing I’m supposed to do.”

“I’m not the one to ask about that sort of thing.  I’m not one to, I guess, decide what’s right for you”

“Okay. I’m just not used to it”


The stale highway behind turns into a more rural setting, trees lining the county roads, less and less signs, more and more fields.


“What are you drawing?”



“They’re the most difficult.”

“How so?”

“Well, they’ve got a lot of knuckles and bends and shadows and wrinkles and that sort of thing.  Plus, I don’t have a bowl of fruit in front of me currently.”

“I see that.  I was always a horrible drawer.  Or painter, for that matter.  Katy was so good at it.

“Well, I guess, I like it, and it’s kind of like a puzzle to me, something to figure out, like a crossword, but with pictures instead of words.”


The car windows crack and the musky autumn air reaches into the car as the procession files into a crawl.


“You know, I’m supposed to take care of you or something, right?”

“Yes, I know.”

“Do you want that?”

“I’m not sure.  I never really knew you that well.”

“Yes, I know, and perhaps that’s my fault now, but here we are, together, if you know what I mean.  It was hard to keep in touch when your parents moved away from us.”

“I get it…Will things be different?”

“Yes, a lot different.  Honestly, we’ve only got each other right now.  Things will change, but right now, we’ve gotta’ do this thing…So, I have to ask, do you believe in god?”

“Why would you ask such a fucking weird question?”

“Because it’s what I promised your mother I would do when this time came.”

“Shit.  Um, that’s such a fucked up question.  I mean, what’s your definition, exactly, of “god”?”


In a rare moment, she cries, her hardened and apathetic demeanor abandoned, and in an equally rare moment, I do not.  Instead, we have arrived at the moment, and I open the door, and then hers, and we deal with our hands, sometimes holding, sometimes drawing, sometimes folding, and sometimes falling apart.



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