The Way Home This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 14, 2012
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It was dusk when we left. He packed up the stuff, I paid the restaurant bill. The air was crisp, but it hovered over like a dense fog. The warm breeze failed to comfort our chill demeanors. Not a single word was spoken.

He started the ignition. It roared like a flame does when fed. But like all things, its growl faded into the backdrop of the night.

The stony silence pressed on my eardrums. It was so loud I wanted to scream in an attempt to dissipate the mood. But the silence crept into my throat and blocked all the contents threatening to spew. He stared ahead at the road.

I stole a quick glance at him when I thought he wasn’t looking. His cold eyes made no movement and stuck to the winding road ahead like glue. His pale knuckles gripped the wheel so tightly I saw blue veins protruding. His lips, pressed hard together in a firm line, quivered once. Then they moved.


His eyes came alive for one split second. They flashed bright with some unspoken emotion I couldn’t place. Then it was gone. I opened my mouth to reply but found nothing.

I stared outside the window. The blurry highway and cars streaked by. Their silhouettes formed a massive, blurry canvas. Their sounds merged to form a dissonant but comforting composition. I leaned my head back against the seat, trying to fight the lump in my throat and mysterious moisture building in my eyes.

I watched as his eyes stole one glance at my face. They quickly darted back.

My eyes closed in an attempt to calm the wave of anger in my stomach. It churned and roared for justice and for the bars I built to hold it back to fall. My hands clenched into a fist and I pressed them into my knees.

The car crossed the bridge marking the entrance into our city.

We suddenly both glanced at each other. His painful grimace mirrored mines. Two pairs of eyes, one brown, one blue. One rimmed with glasses, the other with tears. Both shining with desperation, anger, and fear.

“What are we?” I whispered.

He bit his lip, ready to reply, but at that moment, the car belched and hissed. The engine sputtered and he was forced to pull over to the curb. I threw up my hands.

“What the hell happened?!” I yelled.

“You tell me! We were going along just fine, and something just went wrong.”

“You knew it was broken all along. And you still went along and pretended it was fine. And look what happened. It fell apart.”

“I didn’t know what to do. I assumed it would be fine. Just one little thing wrong. I didn’t expect everything to fall apart. You’re blaming all this on me, like it’s all my fault.”

“When something starts to fall apart, you don’t sit and pray for things to get better. You don’t throw it away. You fix it!”

I looked into my boyfriend’s eyes. They pleaded with me to pretend. To pretend as if everything was okay and we could just continue on down the dark road like nothing was falling apart.

But I couldn’t do that. I grabbed y bags and opened the door. He jumped up and grabbed my wrists, making me whirl back.

“What do you think you’re doing?” He demanded.

“I’ll walk.”

I wrenched myself free and continued into the shadows of the night.

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