December 17, 2014

Sarah Freligh


Drive

I used to drive by his house about ten times a day hoping for a glimpse of him doing—I don’t know—anything. Sometimes I drove my mother’s station wagon, beige and anonymous.  Or I rode shotgun in Kate’s Beetle, crouched down in the front seat while she reported to me: Nothing. Wait: Maybe that’s him out back, shooting baskets.

I used to drive by his house because I loved him. Andy, Andy, Andy, his name was a song I sang to soothe myself to sleep. After he scored the winning basket at state semifinals, I inked Andy all over my hand, framed each name in a heart.

I used to drive past the corner where the accident happened on my way out of town. Piles of dried flowers and candle stubs marked the spot where a semi had plowed through a red light and hit the car Andy was riding in with three other guys. They were the lucky ones. Only Andy lived.

Sometimes I dream I’m driving when someone else really is. My mother, who is blind. Or Kate, who says Look, no hands. In dreams it’s me in a wheelchair, withered legs hidden under a blanket. It’s Andy who is whole, alabaster statue under the gym’s white lights. His legs are tensed, ready. He gestures to the men in front of him, a cop directing traffic, and only then does he start his drive down the length of the floor.

CP

Sarah Freligh is the author of Sort of Gone and A Brief Natural History of an American Girl, winner of the Editor's Choice Award from Accents Publishing. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Constance Saltonstall Foundation, and the New York Council on the Arts.