A Collaborative Effort

Names Mean A Lot
By Courtney Davison & Andrew Susser

Sure, there was more to be said, but the gridlock in front of the tunnel occupied his concentration. He knew it would be another fifteen minutes before they would enter the mouth of the tunnel, but he did not have fifteen minutes worth of things to say. The cars around them were mostly reflecting their own light as dusk strained dull colors into the day’s overcast sky. Remarking on this simple beauty crossed his mind, fast, like seedy toilet stalls planted in the highway gravel, disappearing behind you into the annals of another’s history. “Do you still want to go to Kate’s when we get home,” he asked in an unnerving voice that seemed directed more towards the traffic than to her. “No, I don’t think so,” the words inched out of her mouth, as the car inched forward. Their common febrility, vacant from their faces, seeded itself in their arms and legs. “Well then,” he began, the yolk of patience, linked to generations of concrete and silent men, almost visible around his neck, “we won’t go to Kate’s.” She took in a deep breath and muttered “so,” followed by “um,” which inevitably led to “never mind,” and another failed attempt to move the conversation in a new direction. And so the hour passed, until home, marked by the inhalation of four cigarettes, and the tapping of fingernails on
plastic. The phone was ringing inside but they were weighed down with luggage. Shuffling their keys, they could hear the cats scratching the door, and the answer machine utter, “You’ve reached Jon and Maggie, leave a message,” in Maggie’s sunny
voice.

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