Another piece written for Mark’s website:
He is looking up at the stark lines above him dissecting the sky. They seem static, as though the same few metres of cable are hovering above their car. His eight year old mind understands empirically that the car is travelling past kilometers of the stuff but he can’t see any change in size or direction so he finds it impossible to acknowledge the fact of his motion.
It would help if he could see a cloud, the boy thinks. But even Nature had turned a shoulder against him. The sky was glassy blue as though he was looking up from the inside of a marble. It was a perfect dome, and the boy had to force himself to look away, to ignore that feeling that someone, someone bigger, was watching.
When had they left? He couldn’t remember now. The days have stretched out until night had become nothing more than the briefest fog, the slipperiest shawl of unconscious that broke only to once more reveal the black lines slitting the sky.
He feels groggy; memories of falling off the monkey bars and landing on his head. He had vomited in the car that day, after his mum had picked him up from the school nurse. Is that where he was? Was he on that car ride? He can’t remember, but he suspects not. That had happened. This was happening.
They’re different aren’t they? Time can’t repeat itself. Can it? After the monkey bars he had an egg-like bump on his forehead. The boy reaches up to touch his forehead, but his arms are restrained. This wasn’t that day. He looks around. The cracked vinyl of the car seats in front of him are a peanut butter yellow. The person driving is mostly obscured by the seat, but the boy sees a purple knit sleeve, and straight, red hair. The jingle of a bracelet when the purple sleeve pulls down on the steering wheel. The suns reflection off a pair of prescription glasses.
This isn’t that day with the monkey bars.
That isn’t his mother.