Sunsets and Car Crashes

by Lorena Quintana, Contributor

The street lights were beginning to turn on as I bladed down the middle of the road. There were no cars out on the road tonight; it was dead silent. All I could hear was the scraping of my wheels against the pavement and I could see the lights changing colors: red, green, orange, red, green, orange. And I cruised past them unscathed. I do this every Sunday afternoon, pull out my blades and knee-high socks and I cruise the streets, just me and my thoughts for as long as I want.

I used to dream of being a suburban housewife, with an apron and everything. I would have lots of children, maybe five or six with beautiful brown hair. They would have my glow and my husband’s gorgeous eyes. I want one with freckles, too. I could wear an apron all day with cursive writing across the chest that reads “Home is where the heart is.” I would have dinner ready when my husband got home and I would have the children washed up with their homework done and ready for dinner. The table would be set, the candles lit, everyone in their special seat. And I would greet my husband with a kiss and he would hold me tight and our children would giggle and say “Ewww.” And I’d take his coat so we could sit down, and we’d all start dinner with a chat about our day.

I think about this every time I go out alone. I close my eyes and stretch my arms wide and I blade down the street fast to feel the wind against my cheeks. Sometimes I cry a little because a part of me doesn’t believe I will ever have this life. And then I begin to blade a little faster because the faster I go the sooner the wind pushes the tears away from my face. The tears flow behind me and then I feel a sudden relief that I am skating away from them, that I’m skating to freedom. Eventually my legs tire and I have to stop to catch my breath, always at the same spot, on the corner of Cornelius Avenue where the oak tree is.

It was nine o’clock that evening. I skated to the curb to catch my breath beneath the tree. I lay down like I always do and I looked up to the sky, to watch for shooting stars. The sky was pretty, remarkable like she always is, unchanging. I was singing something soft and sad, something that made me smile in that sad way people do. And I thought about what the words meant, and for whom they were meant for and I wondered if she knew.

And I began to daydream again, about my life as a wife and a mother. I dreamed about finding someone to love me, someone to have a home with and many children. I dreamed about the comfort I would find in a child’s smile and the warmth I would feel in my heart whenever they hugged me after a long day at school. I fantasized about the way my husband would look at me everyday, with love and kindness. I dreamed about the promises life held, the opportunities and the surprises. And I thought about my purpose in this world and finding someone else to embark on this journey with me. And I smiled, in that happy way that people do because in that moment I felt real.

And I saw a shimmer in the corner of my eye and thought nothing of it. And next I heard the pumping music and the laughter. I sat up just in time to see the headlights. I was mesmerized and I couldn’t move. And then I heard the screeching, the car swerved. I blinked. And I felt all of my heart’s desires float away from my body. And the big red eyes blinded me and I felt fulfilled.


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LANDFILLS is a grassroots literary, arts and culture online collective based in Chicago. All work is original, except the featured images that accompany text posts (which are blatantly stolen from Complaints should be directed to Po via Twitter.
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