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On My Way to Meet You

A strange experiment about cars and New Jersey.

I know I'm supposed to be there now, but on my way to meet you, I came out in Jersey and went West. I drove past lanes that stopped in cul-de-sacs, next to long even lawns. I heard your phone voice, still reverbrating inside the car. I sucked in my cheeks and furrowed my brow.

On my way to meet you, to talk about all of these problems, I stopped by the road, a curve by an embankment, blistering away from the highway. I went into the woods and stumbled over something that cried out.

She was quiet, and pulled me down. I had been thinking of you, and what happened took place in relation to you.

It happened like I was a boat pushed through a canal, locks opening one after another until I felt the ocean, huge as stars, lapping at the sides of me.

Afterwards I left her and went back to the car. I sat and smoked, the lighter coiled and burning. I turned the car and let it idle.

She came out of the woods. I expected that she would look like you. She was not as beautiful as you are. She looked gray and tired.

She sat on the hood of the car, facing out, and turned back to look at me.

We stayed there for a long time. Then she got into the car, and asked me to start driving.

"I can't," I said.

"Then go back to New York," she told me, and I did.


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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