A Story that Begins with an Irrational Fear

On the corner of Main Street,
just trying to keep it in line.
You say you want to move on
and you say I'm falling behind.

I never liked driving over bridges.

Something about that free-floating feeling always quickened my pulse. I was never comfortable with the fact that I could lose control of my truck, break through the barrier, and plunge into the ocean.

I'm worse at swimming than I am at driving. And I'm not very good at driving.

I've seen enough television to know that I never want to be trapped in the cab of my truck while the water pours in slowly, filling it up, forcing out all of the air and sweet, sweet oxygen, leaving me gasping, gurgling, banging on the windows, trying - unsuccessfully - to break them, while my body uses up the last of its oxygen supply and I slip into unconsciousness...

So I only use bridges when I have to.

Ice crunches under my tires as I make my way across the causeway. It's stupid, really. The water underneath me can't be more than ten or fifteen feet deep. Even so, I drop my speed down a few notches to Embarassingly Slow, until I could probably walk across faster.

I curse my parents for living on an island.

But as much as it scares me - almost paralyzes me - it gives me a chance to push everything else away. I don't have to think about finally going home after all this time. I don't have to think about everything that's waiting for me inside that house, that neighborhood. I don't have to think about all of the people I tried so hard to forget.

I don't have to think about the funeral.

My hands grip the steering wheel until my knuckles turn white and my fingernails leave little half-moon indents in the leather.

The word irrational springs to mind.

And then it's over, and my tires find purchase on the gravelly road of the island, crunching down on ice and snow.

I almost don't see the sign, until I'm on top of it and I can just make out its reflective blue paint peeking out from a white wintery crust. The same sign that me and Eloise tried to steal when we were twelve and again when we were seventeen.

Main Street.

I heave a sigh as the ocean sighs all around me, white-capped waves ripping themselves away from the slate-grey body of the ocean and flinging themselves against the rocks.

And even though I've already made it off the bridge, I still keep my truck at a speed slower than any reasonable person could run on foot. Because in so many ways, I don't want to have to face what's in that house.

The End

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