From “Angel on 24 East”

(Creative Nonfiction)

It was a clear night. Despite the roar of the bikes, I felt surrounded by a peculiar silence. It wasn’t a peaceful silence like the silence of my house at night when Liana and my parents were sleeping, but a charged silence, like the silence after lightning strikes, when you’re waiting for thunder. As we sped toward the freeway, I watched the constellations. The stars seemed to be spinning in a frenzied dance. I also watched Rocky, who was weaving more than ever. As we accelerated on the on-ramp, he picked up speed faster than Bob and I. He was heading directly toward the island that separated us from the freeway. Images flipped through my mind: I saw Liana curled like a seashell in her crib; I saw myself back in school, not passing notes but listening to the teacher for a change; I saw the owners of the little white house returning from vacation, finding everything gone or destroyed; I saw Bob holding Liana; I saw Rocky hit the island. The impact hurled him into the air, and he landed on the freeway thirty or forty feet from the island. It couldn’t be real. It had to be just one more image in the sequence. I looked at the constellations again, then looked ahead. Rocky still lay there. I closed my eyes, then opened them again. Rocky still lay there. I tried to wake up, but I couldn’t, because I was already awake.

Lucille Lang Day

First published in River Oak Review