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What I Got From The First Good Night's Sleep In Years:

By Ellie Gordon

the arrival of Nick in his famous burgundy Buick, recalling the time he ran over my foot when I attempted to tuck-and-roll because he was in a hurry and I refused to make him slow down on my account, the assured thunder of a Chrysler 426 Hemi drumming through his hood, the elastic hole at the bottom of the rear passenger side door, my seat a velvet pouch wedged between the upholstery and child lock, my head rested against the window warmed by July’s sun, the hum and rhythm of rigid pavement rumbling up from the grooves of new tires through my feet to the back of my neck, peace, comfort in knowing Nick became a master mechanic despite only recently graduating from our community college’s automotive program, the miracle (a word I hadn’t used with any sincerity in ten years and two days before tonight) he never got injured when he’d switch to cruise control and climb onto the outside of his car while a friend took hold of the steering wheel, how he was now defying science and God by drifting around dirt road corners with the Buick’s whole back half teetering along the edge of the cliff skirting Lake Whatcom, fording six feet of water without flooding his transmission, ascending the Chanterelle hiking trail switchbacks at 60 miles per hour, me being unable to say anything else when we reach the viewpoint except "In my dreams I die in accidents,” the Douglas Firs blackening against the sunset, Nick getting sentimental for once and saying "Even though the world is going up in flames, I'm going to miss the place,” how I want this to mean he’d come to terms with his ugly demise, the jack giving out beneath the weight of his girlfriend's ride and crushing him, the warmth of his body when I pull him into my arms, his light yet lasting kiss on my cheek, losing him again when I wake, memory as usual blurring first at the edges, forgetting Nick was a notoriously irreverent jokester, that the dream was less a chance for me to say goodbye and more an elaborate gag where he waits more than ten years and two weeks after death in order to surprise me by peeking over my shoulder as I write for the first time the part where he kisses my cheek, his bold voice booming “WOW GAAAY,” my laughter confined yet absolving as prayer.

Ellie Gordon has published work with Hobart After Dark, Daily Drunk Magazine, Wondrous Real Magazine, and others, but is mostly known for their appreciation of werewolves.

Photo by Jason Thayer.

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