‘Rust’ by Sally Larsen

soft cartel may 2018

Rust.

That’s what I see when I think of him. Rusty like his old red truck that growled through the streets of suburban Connecticut, brazenly followed by a thick black cloud covering everything in its path. The old leather seats were peeled and musty exposing a dirty cushion beneath. He was filth masked with small town charm and friendly greetings.

 

21 July 2004

It’s the peak of summer in New England. The trees are heavy and green, the sun bright and the air so hot it almost looks like the pavement is steaming. I am back in the old truck that I can’t help but despise. My thin, adolescent thighs keep sticking to the torn, flaking seats. His arm is pressed up against me, sweaty, and I wonder if that is really necessary. I try to scoot to the right, closer to my friend, but I let out a grunt as my legs peel off the leather.

“Sit still, will you, kid?”

I stop for a moment before trying again. He exhales as he glances out of the side window, ever-so-slightly shaking his head. I had attempted to walk the brief fifteen minutes it takes to get to their house, like I always do, but he insisted on picking me up, like he always does. And a few short moments later, we pull into the driveway, stopping only inches from the bright yellow wood of their house. Barbecue smoke soars over the rooftops, carrying old rock tunes and laughter with it. I climb, painfully, out of the truck on Jen’s side, turning back to find his eyes on me. I slam the door shut. The loud clash of metal on metal makes me wince. His gaze shifts as he follows the sound of his friends’ crude calls.

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