Sunday April 4th, 2010

The exercise:

Your prompt today? Old country roads.

Kat and I will be returning to Vancouver tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have some pictures and stories to share.


The truck rumbles through the countryside, a dusty cloud trailing in its wake. It has been a long, hot summer and the fields on either side of the arrow straight road are as dry as the path that divides them. Johnny Cash is on the ancient, crumbling stereo singing Down There By The Train and the man behind the wheel knows enough to not make it a duet.

The driver's side window is rolled all the way down and a deeply tanned elbow is jutting out into the still, hot air. One hand rests casually at the top of the cracked leather steering wheel and keeps the truck in the middle of the road with an easy grace.

His eyes scan the fields, the road ahead, the distant hills. He is in no rush to reach his destination and so is content in enjoying the journey. It is not always this way, with no clock ticking incessantly in his mind, no hourglass spilling sand faster than the old V8 engine can propel him forward.

But then his eyes linger in the rear-view mirror for a few moments, even though there is nothing to see but dust and more dust. Perhaps he sees amongst the swirling particles the face of the woman he's left behind. Perhaps he sees the boy he once was but never will be again. Perhaps he sees his father's face for one final time.

Regardless of what he sees, he drives on.


Archi said...

Hey, Marc, I'm back! :D

Liked yours. Not quite melancholy, but more calmly contemplative. Nicely done :)

The bones of her hands jitter against eachother as she grips the wheel, painfully guiding the car around potholes and over the tilted road. Her mother leans over to read the speedometer: 10 MPH. Well. She was getting better.

A truck rumbles past on the left, throwing specks of dust across the windshield. The girl lifts her foot from the gas and grits her teeth.

"Right," her mother says, pointing. "Turn right here."

The girl stops at the cross roads and signals although no other vehicles are in sight. A cluster of llamas eye the car moving up the lane between pastures. They nod back to the ground as it stops, idling, and the two women step out. The girl twists the car keys, fiddling with the lock mechanism. Her mother smiles and touches her shoulder.

"See that house?" she says.

"Uhm. Yeah."

"We used to live in that house, when you were just a little thing. Do you remember that? You used to ride your little tricycle everywhere." The mother smiled and squeezed her daughter's shoulders.

"Uhm. Mom?"


"Can you turn the car around for me? I don't know how to reverse yet." She passed her mother the keys.

Greg said...

Well Marc, Archi, I'd say you've both produced some lovely, comtemplative pieces there. I really enjoyed reading both of them, they took to me similar but different places. Fantastic, both of you!

Old Country Roads

There's a taste of ash in the air,
Dust hangs over the road like a pall,
The trees rustle dry leaves,
And the sunlight belongs to the Fall.

There's a thinness where the world should be,
The old country roads are wearing out,
They taking no-one home again,
You'll have to find a different route.

A heat-haze shimmers at the end of nowhere,
There's nothing left at the end of the road,
A man tells you you must turn back,
Away from where reality melted and flowed.

It's like stepping through into a dream,
The road falls away and the ashen taste grows strong,
There's no turning back now,
There's nowhere left that you belong.

Glorya said...

Oo! "A thinness where the world should be", incredible :D

Marc said...

Archi - Heya! Is that the real live Archi in the picture I'm seeing? At long last? If not, it still fits the picture I have of you in my head :D

That's a great scene you put together. The 10 MPH made me laugh :)

Greg - yeah, gonna have to second Archi here. That line is fantastic.

Glorya said...

Yeah, that's me ------>
Course, that picture's going to chance once I get my glasses on Thursday :D I'm pretty excited about it ;)