Silence

Brown trees and electrical wires lined the interstate. Gas stations with semis parked in back. Houses that were falling apart. Bent guardrails and signs saying Quiet Zone. No Air Brakes. Fasten Your Seat Belt. It’s The Law.

He watched America go by from the back of a Greyhound. Thought of what he was leaving behind; wife, kids, responsibilities. All in broad daylight. Just walked down to the bus station and bought his ticket; a one way to New Orleans. Maybe he was middle-aged crazy? Maybe he’d just had enough.

Into the night she kept calling him. He didn’t answer. Nor did he check his voice-mail. Messages that said, I don’t know where you are. But, come home. We can work it out, were erased. He didn’t want to hear her voice. Or, any voice. He just wanted quiet. No more fights. No more yelling. Just quiet.

His head was placed against the window. The night had taken over. Some stars in the sky. The moon followed him. His phone rang again. This time he answered it. He could hear her breathing on the other end. Didn’t know what to say. There was silence for two minutes. Just silence.

Where are you? she asked. What’re you doing? she whispered. The kids think you’re at work. I haven’t told them anything. Just come home. Wherever you are just turn around and come home, she pleaded.

Again there was silence. Semis kept rolling past. Billy got an A on his History test. Thought you should know, she told him. And Julie is going to be on the basketball team. She made it. I told her you were gonna be so proud. Come home. Please come home.

I can’t. I just can’t, he said. I gotta work out some things on my own.

We can work them out together. Don’t do this.

I have to.

Silence.

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