By Dylan Angell
You were mesmerized by all the cars that never hit you. You had made a ritual of running with your eyes closed across the four lanes that divide the Rite-Aid and your high school parking lot. Not once did you flinch or open your eyes to see what might be coming. All those bodies being carried by engines couldn’t have understood the love of life that you felt in that moment but they respected it enough to let you go on living.
You had once attempted to speak to God. You recited a prayer which you whispered to your television set. You imagined your words riding a signal to the highest satellite and then being carried further until it would eventually reach the heavens. For weeks you channel surfed looking for some acknowledgment of your prayer. You even tried to decode the static.
One day you decided to ride your bicycle out to a rock quarry. There was no trail that led there and it was far from the road but you had memorized a route. Few of the other kids would of gone out there alone but you decided that you were protected. Your television spoke to God. The cars stopped for you.
You swung from a rope swing out over the water, your back smacked into a splash and then you floated and looked up at the swaggering trees. You closed your eyes and listened to the silence with submerged ears. When the water had grown cold you opened your eyes to find the sun was setting.
In the dark it was impossible to find the trail. You walked over stone and tree root until eventually you saw car lights and this led you to the road.
As soon as you got on your bike you felt a light come up behind you. A large vehicle clipped your back wheel and you went spinning. When you opened your eyes you were lying face down in the woods. You carefully began to move around. No bones were broken and no blood was spilled. The bicycle was without dent or puncture. So, you continued home.
Your parents were angry. They wanted to know where you had been but you told them nothing, not even a lie. You said you were going to take a bath, which you did and again you listened to the silence with ears submerged.
When you got out of the bath your mom asked if you wanted to watch television. That was when you told your mom that you were never going to watch television ever again.
Dylan Angell is a North Carolinian who is currently based in Queens, New York. In 2016 he released the book, An Index of Strangers Whom I Will Never Forget A-Z, via his Basic Battles Books imprint. He has collaborated on two books with photographer Erin Taylor Kennedy; 2017’s I’ll Just Keep On Dreaming And Being The Way I Am and 2018’s Beyond the Colosseum. He has been published in Fanzine, Fluland, Parhelion, The Travelin’ Appalachians Revue and Sleaze Magazine. Sometimes when he can’t sleep he will ride his bike and listen to Bill Evans.