Photograph by Chase Berenson.


        In a drainage ditch.
        In a high school ballfield—before you make him go back, because you are afraid of some things, still. He says that after the next one you won’t be. But you are.
        In the garage for a long time, where no one goes anymore. In the old chest freezer. You wonder at him going out there, long hours at night, but then again he could be someplace else, someplace far. You don’t know which is worse. Continue reading

Photograph by Thomas John Nudi.


        Squeaky. That was the truck driver’s name. Carson forced a giggle when he told it to her, only because he seemed to expect it. All of the false bravado she had conjured left her when she climbed up into the bright blue cab of Squeaky’s eighteen-wheeler. Now she sat silently in the passenger seat while he took the huge looping ramp onto I-49, too afraid of what she’d done to think of anything to say. The window for changing her mind and going back home had closed as soon as he put the truck in drive, and she was headed south for Baton Rouge now. Squeaky had assured her she could find a ride to New Orleans from there, and if not, he was stopping at a truck-stop where she could pick up a few days’ work until she found someone headed that way. The idea had seemed a lot more reassuring in the café than it did in the dirty cab of his truck. Her nerve gone, she worried that she wouldn’t be able to fake it for people again.
        Outside the baked red earth of the early plowed cotton fields rolled by, already dry after the previous day’s rain, the soft hills undulating for as far as she could see. Carson wondered if she would miss north Louisiana; it was beautiful. Her heart hurt as she silently told it goodbye, and underneath that, held firmly below the thoughts of how pretty the green pines were along the edges of the fields, she said goodbye to Barrett too. Continue reading