An Understanding of the Highway
She says yes sometimes when she wants to say no but you hope that this isn't one of those times. It's cold outside and she has goose bumps on her arms. Out of the corner of your eye you notice how she wears purple and beige and black all at once. You don't know anyone who can do that and not look like a bruise. Her shirt fabric is always silky and forward. She makes it look effortless except for that second where she adjusts her necklace, holding it to her chest. You sigh because nervousness has entered the car and you don't like it. You swat it away for her. She looks over at you, smiling quietly.
A lady's voice comes through the speakers. You think, "Fancy," but she feels embarrassed. She agrees with something you say. You realize if she agreed with everything you said, you'd never want her opinion.
Words fall out like rocks. You keep talking until the sound of your voice sounds like a dull buzz.
She turns to the side and you see long, turned-up lashes touching the inside of her glasses. The blinker in the car is ticking and you tap your fingers on the top of your leg. When you decide on a moment to keep, you pick this one. You think about limits, how she walks the line, letting it be her alibi. She pulls up in front of a house. Are you home? When the door opens, she reminds you of a crater obstructing your path. You sidestep that and tell her about building something new. She asks you about handstands. You agree to hold her feet steady, allowing them to waiver ever-so-slightly. She marvels at the view involved with upside down.
Angela Stubbs lives in Los Angeles and is an MFA graduate of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Everyday Genius, Sleepingfish, Black Warrior Review, Bombay Gin, Puerto del Sol, and others. She is the author of a fiction column at The Nervous Breakdown and recently completed a collection of hybrid fiction entitled,Try To Remain Hidden and is at work on a collection of poetry.
Illustrated by Meghan Murphy