Melenia's Passing

It is 2008 and I’m reading about her in the paper. I have not seen her for almost seven years. But time is a funny thing. It slips through my fingers like grains of sand, no matter how hard I try to hold on I cannot keep it from falling through the cracks. Seven years, an eternity, an instant. A compression of memories that I can not measure by hours, minutes, or seconds.
It is 1996 and I’m fifteen again. She talked me into taking that car, telling me she was allowed to use it when I knew damn well she was not. But when I saw that sparkle in her emerald green eyes, allowed her smile to wash over me, that knowledge failed to matter.
“We’ll come right back”, she assured me. As if I needed assurance, I was going with her as soon as she laid her hands on the keys.
We drove out of town in a blinding snowstorm, the wind battering the old blue Concord we had taken. The old blue Concord that was rear-wheel drive. Her driving scared the shit out of me. The back end of the car slipped constantly and propelled the front toward fields, houses, ditches. But somehow at the last second she always managed to right the wheel.
We smoked a bowl, filled our lungs deep with that poison smoke. She always kept her hand on mine a little too long when I passed it to her. We drove nowhere, we drove everywhere, our vision distorted, our bodies light.
It happened when we were almost back. The rear wheels slid out and the car spun in circles, blue paint against swirling white. It happened so fast, but looked so slow, the field we spun into, the ravine we were heading for. But she managed to right the wheel. We stopped, laughed to ourselves, packed the bowl again. We were fifteen we were invincible, we were three feet from the ravine.
It’s 2008 and I’m putting down the paper. The article said your car flipped off the road at speeds in excess of 90m.p.h. You left behind a two-year old boy.
Why didn’t you just right the wheel?

Melenia's Passing


Transfer, United States

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For Melenia Bierworth

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