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Travel for Less

Suzie’s House 514 : It’s Alright My Boy, You’re Here Now

The cars whizzing past trailed streamers of light like a high budget art movie. Sunlight in the air put brilliant gold on every speck of dust and time became a relative thing. As far as flashbacks went, this one was both much better and much worse than the average.

Better simply from the sheer beauty of Madison Wisconsin in the early Fall. Most trees still shone green, and a clear, powder-blue sky loomed overhead. The hoards of high school kids passing offered up their own vital beauty to the rock Drew had become. Worse because it should happen – so deep and thoroughly – while he was driving.

Every time Drew got behind the wheel of his car he knew he was taking a risk. Like someone with narcolepsy, he could never be sure he wouldn’t suffer an attack. For the first year after his exposure to China Black he had avoided driving at all. In the last few months he’d felt under control enough to risk it for short durations.

Included in his calculations were the early warning signs that normally allowed him to safely get off the road before anything dangerous happened. In the last few months his symptoms had become so few and far between, with so much warning that he’d felt confident getting into the car that he could effectively rescue Walter.

Sonoma had said something. Drew could almost remember. He reached for the memory, but all he came away with was a sense of warning given in an offhand manner. Then the pretty dust filtered through the lovely sky and he had just enough warning to bring the car to a stop and put it in park. Pulling off the road? It was already ten seconds too late for that.

Walter. He was rescuing Walter. The man who had lived through Vietnam, and carried the guilt of murder for decades and totally understood Drew needed a ride. Then Drew was thinking about war zones and jungles and the back hills of New Mexico outside of Albuquerque.

Small, rough hands shoved at Drew’s shoulders and hips. His seat-belt exploded into a clique of butterflies. Little cold hands dragged at his other arm. Like sliding into the world, he felt himself shifted from one seat to another.

Trees flashed by at a breath taking speed. Cars flashed past. People everywhere. Drew’s sense of urgency flickered just as quickly. He wasn’t sure when they came to a stop. Only that Walter was there, and Ben. Ben was fine. Ben got out from behind the driver’s seat, though Drew wasn’t sure why or how he got there. And Walter sat in the back seat. Walter had been there for a long time now, since even before the dust notes turned golden and the air became thick as molasses.

Ben said something, but the words flowed around Drew like a cool stream. Nothing he could hold onto. Ben ran into the house. Walter got out of the back seat, his joint creaking like gunshots. Like Vietnam walking. Vietnam limping to the passenger door. Opening it.

People flowed out of the kitchen. Suzie at the front. Trent and Sonoma and Miranda and Vin close behind. Sonoma waved some sort of flowery vial under his nose. It made Drew want to sneeze. The itch rumbled around in his nose, going nowhere. Lisa joined them. And then Gene. Then some of the other kids Ben ran with. All dancing through the dust motes and golden green leaves.

Too many. There were too man. Drew’s arms and legs felt tired like a statue left in the jungle for a thousand years, always holding the fingers just so as if the explain the universe, moving only to decay.

Even breathing became hard. Walter. Drew was supposed to rescue Walter. He was supposed to go somewhere and come back, but where? Drew struggled to breath, going light headed. He could die like this – a statue in the dust.

“It’s alright, my boy.” Walter put his hand on Drew’s shoulder. “You’re here now.” He gave Drew a pat and a squeeze.

Calm poured into Drew. His vision cleared and unfroze. He could breathe again. He blinked a couple of times, and looked around. To his relief, he found himself in the passenger seat of his own car, sitting in Suzie’s driveway. Walter stood in the open door next to him with a hand on his shoulder.

“Ready to come out of there?” Walter smiled paternally.

“Yeah. Yeah. I’m good.” Drew unfolded himself from the car. His muscles complained, but he wasn’t too stiff. Life flooded back into him. He smiled gratefully at Walter “Thanks.”

Walter had rescued him.

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