Writing Practice, May 10 2015
The boy was ten years old. He sat atop luggage in the back of a lane-wide box van. It was the first time he’d done either thing. The luggage piled so high his head would occasionally bump the ceiling. He had no seatbelt, nothing to strap him down for safety. If the van came to a sudden stop, the boy would probably slingshot into the back row proper, where three older men he’d only meet once. He only knew one of their names. No, that wasn’t right. He knew one name and one nickname. The boy didn’t know the third guy by any name.
The highway was smooth and new and dark. It was midnight. The boy was wide awake. His parents had given him permission to go, and while the exhibition had been mostly a dull disappointment, the ride to and now back was the memorable thing. The men told stories and jokes. The boy heard a lot of words for the first time.
This was the kind of trip that probably wouldn’t be allowed in modern times. The boy carried no identification, and he’d spent half of the $20 his mom had given him on lunch and snacks throughout the day.
He barely remembered the event itself, but the hollow loud sound of air in such a high and empty warehouse-turned-arena was still with him. Every now and then, he tried to make the most himself but couldn’t.
He also remembered the sound of canvas.
The boy wouldn’t talk about this weekend to his friends at school. There was a new game. Nobody was really listening to anyone.