(From a in-class exercise in my Linfield College Creative Writing class Fall 2008. We tracked our dreams all semester, then chose one particular image to express in a mandala and a write.) Pothole
May 18, 2008
Peter and I are driving in our Subaru on a local highway—I am at the wheel. The asphalt begins to get rough, so I low down. There’s plenty of traffic, all slowing. Some people are driving off the road out into the fields, apparently on detour.
Now we see why: an enormous impact crater has destroyed the road. The river has run into it, filling it with deep and dangerous pools. This isn’t a pothole you can drive across, although we see people driving out on dead end ledges, unable to get back.
I propose one route, but Peter points out the steep drop on the other side. He gets out to look around and goes to talk to someone. An official waves his arms and opens a way for my column of cars. I inch forward, thinking Peter will see me and follow, but the traffic and the crowds of people on foot increase and I lose sight of him.
On the other side, I pick up two men; one drives and the other sits in the back seat, and we inch along through traffic, then suddenly we’re passed the crater and moving free. But where is Peter?
“Stop! Go back! We have to find Peter! I order the man driving. My body is flooded wth urgency and anxiety.
“I’m not going back there! Hitchhikers have rights, too, you know! He replied, not slowing.
“Turn back! Turn back! I have to find Peter!” I beat on his muscled arm and wrench the wheel in a circle so that he is forced out the door, and I take over the wheel.
I turn back the way we had come, re-entering the chaos of the crater blast zone. People are milling around in a panic. I ump out of the car and try to find a familiar face or an official and finally spot someone. “Have you seen Peter? Do you know wich way he went?”
“Oh, yes,” she said, “I saw he ran into an old acquaintance of his, Glasses Larimer. They went off together.”
“Do you know where Glasses lives? Tell me!”
“Oh, if he went off with Glasses, you’ll never find him.”
I look again at the crater and its green, cold depths blocking the road.