Never try Falling while driving. That’s another rule. Like having a conversation while the radio is tuned to a song you’re trying to remember the lyrics to, or perhaps a not quite audible but potentially interesting talk show. Rose at the wheel, the GPS app interrupts “This American Life” to give directions and a panicked voice inside you competes with Ira Glass chatting with his radio guest while you concentrate on responding to queries from the driver about where you’d like to stop for lunch. Except someone closer than the back seat is leaning forward and hissing in your ear, an impatient writing partner hovering at your shoulder, shadow over the keyboard, clucking and snorting as you type, suggesting edits.
In 500 feet turn right onto
Today’s guest is
If you like Indian, there’s a place downtown Troy serves an excellent
There used to be a fence along there, look up look to your right no over there now look that was the view oh god that was the
I think we’re headed in the right direction, observes Rose.
It’s over there, I try to say, hoping the words don’t sound hoarse or loud, as if I’m talking over someone else, which I am.
You think? Rose replies.
I don’t dare answer. I don’t want to look down at my hands because they won’t be mine, they will be whittled down to bones and veins, speckled with liver-spots like bits of broken brown egg shell, trembling in frayed white cuffs with brass studs and the wool jacket sleeves of a suit – no, this is not what I am wearing in this world on this late rainy morning in this four-wheel drive Subaru with Rose in this American life and not the passenger seat of a battered black Ford pick-up smelling of old apples and horses and tobacco and sweat, bouncing and rumbling up a dirt road and the white farmhouse on the hill in the distance off to the right is coming into view and what I am feeling, the sinking heart, the nervous hands, the sense of loss is out of proportion and disconnected to the world I inhabit and I really need to stay here and witness, not fall back into Then.