Never Even Asked

Amanda Oliver
American West
Published in
5 min readNov 8, 2017

--

There is a road in Taos, New Mexico called Blueberry Hill. If you take it for about a quarter mile from Lower Las Colonias Road it will give way to dirt side roads. If you make a left onto one, you will find a row of five adobe dome houses. One of them is all white and a woman from Boston built it from scratch to escape winter.

If you drive over 15 miles per hour down that road, your body will rock from side to side as it hits holes in the dirt. Someone has filled some of them in with rocks, but mostly the earth has given way to vehicles larger than yours. Mostly, you cannot avoid them.

You will slow down. You will be surrounded by mountains. You will roll your windows down and let the air outside hit your tears. You will thank the gods for Tom Petty’s music and rental cars and high-desert air.

If you visit northern New Mexico in the fall, you will be surrounded by the yellow leaves of changing aspen trees. People will ask you what brings you here this time of year. People will try to guess if it’s the weather or the art or the quiet. You will say it is your birthday. They will respond with many words and all of them will include a disbelieving alone punctuated with a shocked question mark.

Yes, alone. I am alone.

The first person to wish you a happy birthday, one minute after midnight, will be the man you were…

--

--

Amanda Oliver
American West

Author of OVERDUE: Reckoning with the Public Library • writer, editor, teacher • amandaoliver.com