The Freeway (Portrait #7)

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We were underneath, before it crossed over the river. Tires sizzled above us like a new form of electricity. These were sounds of an alien world, our planet. Our arms glued on to it, tentacles. Yet, we couldn’t follow it.

The kid was on the freeway now, the river and dock still washed his body up to the shore, continually, forever, it seemed.

I was frightened of nowhere, of being nowhere. Living had strange sounds attached to it, like the kid’s voice as he passed over us. It shook me. There was no stopping the rush over the bridge, the sound of relentlessness. I swear I heard the kid laughing. I couldn’t tell whether that laughter was aimed at me.

Yes, we were dreamers and on occasion we threw ourselves in front of the traffic. But, we would only lose a limb or a head. And they wouldn’t stop! Why would they? The river doesn’t. The bridge doesn’t. The pavement… well it’s a different type of ghost. It looks like it stops when it’s alone, but it is eternally never alone, therefore, always moving.

I told him the bridge held two states together. Two kinds of worlds. He laughed, the little murderer. “That’s what they’re doing,” I told him. “changing states like beings, souls switched upon crossing. It’s like it’s a bridge of the gods.”

He told me the kid murdered himself, not suicide. That was a clue. Now, the freeway was so heavy, I couldn’t listen to it without my back bending into an arc. I thought I was experiencing age, but I was mistaken.

Sometimes, though, I think it’s the ocean, tides upon tides, luring me to somewhere I can never be. And the bridge is a snake, coiled in, upon itself.

Courtesy Ray Spallone. Former San Jose city councilman Joe Colla as he appeared in 1976, when he paid to have a car lifted by helicopter atop the not-yet-completed flyover interchange between U.S. 101 and Interstates 280 and 680. Construction of the interchange had been halted by then-Governor Jerry Brown in 1975. Colla's stunt prompted the Legislature to approve funding to complete the interchange . There is a resolution in the Legislature to rename the interchange in Colla's honor.

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15 Responses to The Freeway (Portrait #7)

  1. calensariel says:

    That’s sad. I guess we all have those “bridge” experiences in our lives.

    Like

  2. It was The Forest that sang to me of such misery. It holds all the sorrow of their grief and pain. The oldest was murdered, the youngest distraught…so lost…he couldn’t take the silence. The Father, aches for vengeance against those who took his beloved sons, yet his heartache is so overwhelming, the land around him absorbs it all; all the trees, all the soil, all the life…At Night, The Forest sings to me of their haunting lamenting, calling out to me for help…intruding upon my Celestial Travels. I am Forbidden The Forest where they dwell. You are Wise to Understand!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Read it several times but just can’t get a grip on what meaning I can take from it. Maybe it just has to be. Just be. By the way, one of the stumps near the front of the photo has a face on it. At least it looks like one to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. vivachange77 says:

    Strange, otherworldly story. Oddly wonderful. Excellent writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mrsorenson says:

    Perhaps the slowest flash fiction I have ever read. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. estemarks says:

    This speaks so much to human experience even though we never want to admit that we have those “bridges.”

    The pic drew me in but I’m glad I stayed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Joseph Nebus says:

    Well, something has to hold the states together, doesn’t it? You don’t want them flying loose.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. skipmars says:

    If you’ve not already, may I recommend Flannery O’Conner’s “The Violent Bear It Away”?. Your story should be set to the haunting tune, “Ode to Billie Joe.” https://youtu.be/pbpChEEQsbk

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pure poetry. Well done!

    Like

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