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Friday, January 14, 2011

Destination Part 3

Here's part 2.

This is the final part, btw.

3.

They were moving. Tu knew they were moving because he could feel the cab hitting every bump, every pothole, could feel every turn the cab took.

His eyes were closed. Tu’s eyes were closed because it made him too sick to watch the city crawl past.

The driver. Eyes open.

They were slowly progressing along the edge of the island now, the edge of the nameless city, and if Tu opened his eyes he would’ve seen the river, frozen and ragged with ice, a ghost river glowing from the city lights with points like draped napkins jutting from the surface as if all the characters from the depths were expected to have a dinner party. There was an ocean somewhere, a great expanse of water and life, and snow fell onto that ocean and disappeared.

The icy river Tu didn’t dare look at emptied into that ocean.

Above the ocean were clouds. Within the ocean was a current.

Tu, barely conscious, wiped at the corners of his mouth where a top lip closed in on a bottom lip.

“Never do the night shift,” the cabbie said to himself.

Back to the river: waves were frozen mid-crest, so that the surface preserved the rough, jagged nature of water in motion.

Back to the sky: clouds meandered through it, self-contained grey balloons set adrift in a black sea.

Back to the cab: warm, comforting. Tu used his arms to cradle himself, and drifted in and out of sleep as the cabbie pushed the cab along the edge of the island.

Just before his shift, the cabbie kissed his son on the cheek. “I’ll be home as soon as I can,” the cabbie told his boy.

No answer. The boy wiped the kiss from his cheek.

The cabbie checked his rearview mirror, which was pointed at the kid in the back seat and not at the traffic stalking him. The kid was slumped down in a small part of the back seat, legs tucked into his torso, arms folded around him so that if the cabbie wanted to he could slap a stamp on the kid and shove him into a mailbox. The cabbie thought of his own son. Wished he could do the same with.... no matter. The kid was in the back seat, and his son was at home, and he, the cabbie, was behind the wheel of a vehicle moving along the west side of the island along an iced-over river.

“Where do I want to go,” the cabbie thought.

Then the cabbie thought, “Why do they always ask that question as if they’re doing me a favor.”

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