The smell of stale Pall Malls clung to me as I stepped outside. The clean taste of rain in the air washed the smoke from my tongue, filled my head with clean emptiness. I looked out onto the street I’d lived on for five years, and hadn’t set foot on in just as many. Envelope crisp and white in my hand, I stepped carefully across the wet wood of the porch and climbed into the car.
The pen had slid smoothly over the paper, lines tiny and tight, surprisingly small. I’d copied the letters of Dad’s new cell carefully and exacting, handwriting looking more and more like my father’s with each stroke. December 20th. I hoped it would reach him by Christmas.
As I pulled up on the post office, I stopped in the middle of the street, left blinker on, waiting patiently for the girl in the yellow bug to look up and notice me before completing her turn. I knew she wouldn’t, the way her head bobbed with the phone against her ear… She was a million miles away. Years ago, on this very street, that would have been me. My dad had taught me to drive just three streets down. I still remembered taking a turn too fast in my purple Geo Tracker and the way his arm pressed into my chest as he flung a protective hand out instinctively.
I wondered who taught this girl to drive, and who would teach my little brother with my father now in jail. I wondered when my girl friend’s father would come home as I pulled back into the driveway, parking behind his abandoned Thunderbird. The smoke from her mother’s Pall Malls reached out to greet me as I opened the door.
My entry for the Daily Post Weekly Challenge. I’m pretty excited about the idea, so look for more of these from me in the future.