Creative Nonfiction,  Medium


A memory in vivid color.

Every morning we’d drive the same route to school. A right turn, past the Baker’s Springs sign and on to Duplex Road. The road was so narrow two cars could barely pass by without brushing up against each other. It had been serviceable thirty years ago when the sprawling Nashville suburbia in which we resided was a collection of farms and grassy green meadows, but now it seemed minuscule. Too small to even be called a road.

We wound past neighborhood after neighborhood — rows of two-story houses lined up next to each other, each abode covered partly by reddish brick and partly by plastic siding with indentations meant to look like wood grain. There were always mailboxes at the end of each driveway — the kind that were stuck up on wooden beams looking stately while peering out into the street with their red flags waving.

Soon we’d pass all the neighborhoods and submerge ourselves in green. A canopy of trees overhead — oaks and poplars, walnuts and dogwoods, maples and magnolias. The sticky air forced everything to be green, each leaf swaying under the weight of the moisture it held.

Out of the green, we’d emerge into a bygone era. Splintered and greyed wooden fences surrounded log cabins and majestic whitewashed clapboard homes alike while cows and horses grazed lazily in the morning sunlight. This part of the drive was never bad — no matter what lay on the other side of it.

We’d pass the Coca-Cola man, with his white-streaked log house covered head-to-toe in red memorabilia. We’d drive by the old gas station, with its tall rusty gas pumps and rolling glass-paned garage door. We’d pass the creaky old church with its bright red door and worn out pews.

Every morning, without fail, we’d drive this route — leaving at 6:45, stopping at Kirstin’s house to pick her up, and driving the fifteen minutes past and out of town to get to the high school. The radio would play, we’d sing along, and once we arrived we’d stumble out onto the sidewalk with our backpacks and lunch boxes and brace-faced smiles.

Every day we’d take that winding road — through it all to get to our destination. To the tests and papers, dances and plays, football games and band practices. It was something to get through to get to the ending. It was just a drive — just a winding drive into the day beyond.

Previously published in The Creative Cafe

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