this story was true.
There was no place we could go.
In our situation, there was no place we could go. I went to the woods. I went to nowhere. It didn't take that long to get him into the Jeep. I drove for as long as I could. I had no destination. There was only the need to get as far away as possible. I really had no choice. There was no place we could go.
The only places where not a single other person would stumble on me were hidden in the Appalachian Mountains. I didn't know what I was going to do when I got there. I knew that the hills of my birth would protect me.
I felt like we drove for days, but it might have been more like only hours that took days to pass. Then suddenly, everything stopped. The road had kind of disappeared a while before that, but the one good thing about my participating in America's SUV craze was that it allowed for times when you lost all pavement. However a lack of pavement is easily overcome with the right suspension system and good tires. A lack of anything is a little harder to drive on. So when the world stopped, we stopped too.
I hung around at the edge for a while. I had planned on going to nowhere. I had never expected to arrive at the end of the world though, and it was a lot for me to take in. So I backtracked a little ways and parked right at the point where you could not yet see the edge. I had a huge fire that night. I ate so many hotcakes I thought I was going to burst. My sense of reality was swiftly fading. I don't really remember, but I think I slept fairly high up in a tree.
The next morning all of the fog which had the day before been very obliging when I'd requested it to sweep up and cover our tracks – that fog had gone back home for some tea. I woke up rather earlier and found myself sitting on a tree stump watching the leaves move. A number of foxes walked past me. One of the more friendly, and less orange (for orange really is an atrocious color) of the foxes paused and asked if I would like to follow them to the checker tournament that was about to begin nearby. I thanked her, but I declined. Checkers was a game for old men and foxes. My mind was still a blur, but I knew I had things more important than board games to think of.
At that moment the sound of the sun kicked up a notch, and my boy, whom I forgot to mention before possessed a marvelous pair of wings, walked over and poked me in the side. I looked at him and smiled. I knew a night in the woods would fix everything, and it had. He more than better, he was almost glowing. I don't think I have ever been happier than right when my eyes focused on him that morning.
" Look at that dirt," he said. "It's so brown and crumbly today. I don't think it was like this last night. I think it was much more tightly packed. But I think I like this morning's dirt much better, don't you?"
It was funny, I could hear his words without seeing him speak. I think he was inside my head. I nodded at him though. He was right, the dirt was doing delightful things then, but at that moment I was more interested in the sky. If you kept walking straight ahead from where I was, I knew that the dirt would cease to be. Staring at the sky, I could see that it wasn't about to do a thing like that. Regardless of whether it had dirt to dribble with blueness or not, it was a feisty sky and it would keep being right on into forever.
I turned to say something to him, but he had already trailed away. He was so skinny, and I hoped more than anything that he wouldn't disappear. Deep down I knew that he already had, but the overwhelming hope remained. No one had ever listened to me is such a way before. He did not notice my eyes on him, lingering even after his form had passed out of sight. I wanted to watched to spot where he had faded until he returned, but the sky tugged my gaze back upwards.
As my vision passed from trees into pure blue, I was overcome by how sad the sky was. Swimming beneath the sky, it seemed I was more than myself, and not so much either. Yet buried in the dirt I knew that nothing of my humanity could compare to the pain of the sky.
It was a big hole, a deep dirty hole. Big enough for me certainly, I could only hope it would be big enough for my friend and his wings.
The threads of invisible light to which the spirits cling were wrapping themselves tighter and tighter around me. I remembered the sensation of the tears my friend with wings sent burning down my cheeks when I pressed his face to mine so long ago. No, not so long, 36 hours at most. Days are tricky things, and my recent ones were wearing some kind of a disguise that made them seem much longer. Time is relative to what happens. The numerical data as to how long has passed is meaningless. I have lived days that outlasted years. That morning, entangled in the threads cast from the sky at the edge of existence, my mind placed tears on my cheeks for the second time - the last time. I felt that somehow, he was all right.
I don't know when I realized it, but I can tell you that after a few days in the woods I was done with everything. Neither numbness, understanding, nor strength had truly taken hold in me, more a general desensitization, albeit an unplanned one, to everything. I recognized then that it didn't matter where I was, all my surroundings would remain the same to me. But stick to what you know they say. I knew I was hungry, and I knew I was tired. Yet I was always tired; my dreamless sleep was just another exercise in futility. Not that it mattered much anymore.
When it became more than my body could bear, I stood up and drifted in the direction I had come from. I got into the empty car with some sense of final purpose, and began the long, lonely drive back to my life. Eventually I fell asleep. It was a nice sleep, a comfortable sleep. And as for whatever comes next, it was running late, so beyond my falling asleep I knew nothing.