It felt like a sucker punch moving north, to Upstate New York. This was it, the town of Wishing. It was a beige square at the side of the interstate, with cheap post-war houses and a tattered wrap-around river. The streets were 90-degree strips of pavement, drawn by men in love with straight lines and symmetry.
Father Donald drove the U-Haul, all their possessions jammed in the back. Mother Dee and David rode a Greyhound a week later. When they crossed the Mason-Dixon line, they hugged each other. There was a loneliness in those miles. All they had were their carry-on bags with three days worth of clothing and toiletries, and thirty-five dollars for food, magazines, emergencies.
Behind them, their old home in Athens, Georgia; a known place, where the air was stirred with sugar. It was the only place that David knew, a cocoon of wide trees and silk skies.
And then there was this, the depleted state of Wishing. The air felt colder, the houses were painted in darker tones, the lawn grass was littered with unwanted things: rusting Weber grills, lean-faced Cub Cadet lawnmowers, wilting brown flowers. And the children, grim and gray, with their torn T-shirts and socks poking out of their Nikes, wearing smiles that were achingly adult. This was home, whatever that meant.
*A work in progress*