As We Cross the Montana-Wyoming Border...

January 4, 2008
By matt seibert, Columbus, MT

As we cross the Montana-Wyoming border running on empty, I notice a dead bird on the side of the road. When we pass it a lone feather flits up and slowly drifts back down to death. I look over, she’s crying in the passenger seat. She’s been crying for hours. It was a success, though I’m not sure for whom. I want to cry too, but I have to be the shoulder. I don’t know if things will ever be the same. I want to talk about it, she doesn’t feel like talking right now; things are getting awkward.

I start thinking of that day, not long ago. We were just messing around. Then things got serious. I didn’t have one, but we didn’t care. All one of us had to do was just say “No.” We got greedy. We didn’t think about the lives that we would affect, including ours or…his. At least I like to think it would have been a boy. Then my mind skips over to her father, how he would kill me if he ever found out. Something tells me he might.

How could we have been so stupid? After all the talks from parents, teachers, guest speakers, how? Because we were living for the moment. Living. The meaning of the word is profound. Life. We take it for granted. What if my parents were two dumb teenagers that were just screaming through life? What would I be like now? Would I even “be?”

I remember the talk I had with my brother. I was in too much of a hurry to grow up. I was going too fast. He noticed. He tried to hit the e-brake. I slowed down for a while. Then I sped back up again. I got in a crash, I killed somebody. I killed somebody. What does life have in store for me? What does life have in store for her? What are we going to do?

We come upon a gas station; I ask “Are you hungry, babe?”
She says “I’ll always feel hungry.”
I sit, feeling alone, abandoned. There is an empty hole in my stomach. It feels like nobody ever gave me a chance.. I try to imagine what will come of this...I try to imagine what this will conceive.

We can’t just go back to our lives, it doesn’t just happen like that. I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to be burdened. I can’t shoulder it right now. Neither can she. I shouldn’t even be thinking about this--not now.
I let my mind wander back to the dead bird. I wonder what his story was.

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