by C.C. Russell
Something hits the air outside of Cheyenne — a burning scar across molecules of sky. Something heats itself through friction to the point where it combusts, becomes pure energy. This is how your story begins. Your head turned towards a meteor flashing in an arc over the horizon and you breathe nostalgia.
August — summer ending and you sing “American Pie” sitting on the beach of the reservoir while stars fall through a cloudless sky. Your two best friends harmonize. Two years from now, you will no longer know where they live. Two years from now, a frozen chunk of space gas will light your vision on fire and you will come back to this beach, this moment, the chorus ending, your hand bringing the long sweaty neck of a Budweiser bottle towards your lips. The harmony fades slowly, like any true pop song. You flicker in and out of time.
Perseids. You’re on a blanket while the girl reads T.S. Eliot aloud. She is afraid. You are afraid. Both of completely separate ideas. Lines of The Wasteland tilt out over the fields of dry weeds while the sky lights up like the Fourth of July. You count burning trails, try to breathe calmly, quietly, to yourself.
Outside of Cheyenne, you come back to yourself, to the sound of hushed voices. Only the one shooting star and this is not a night for McLean or Eliot. This is a night for the warmth of whiskey and Wish I may, wish I might. This is a night moving slowly enough for the ghosts of time to catch up, for you to rest.
Outside of Cheyenne, voices filter through the air. Something burning its way towards being grounded. Outside of Cheyenne, for a second, you believe it is better to fade away. Outside of Cheyenne, you are remembering.
This is how your story begins.
First published in The Riding Light Review
C.C. Russell has published poetry, fiction, and non-fiction here and there across the web and in print. You can find his words in such places as Split Lip Magazine, The Colorado Review, and the anthology Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone. He currently resides in Wyoming where he sometimes stares at the mountains when he should be writing. More of his work can be found at ccrussell.net