the smell of decay in fall
deer in the park
the gray-green of the forest at dusk
the gold shimmer of the sun on the horizon
a muddy dirt road
fog on the river
This piece first appeared in TRN Literary Magazine.
By N. J. Campbell
I met Shannon on the bus coming back from Chicago. She sat in the back. I sat in the back. She was pretty and young, so I didn’t think about her. I introduced myself because people introduce themselves, and then they feel better sitting next to the stranger they don’t know.
“I’m John,” I said.
“I’m Shannon,” she said.
It went on a few sentences from there.
College. Liberal Arts. Nice smile.
I thought about how it was to be that young. I couldn’t remember being that young.
I politely excused myself from the conversation and retreated into my own world.
I watched the sun go down and fell asleep to the rocking of the cabin.
We stopped at a gas station where the driver announced we could find food. I couldn’t find food, but I got some mixed nuts and sat on the concrete in front of the convenience store.
It was calm. There was nothing harsh. I remember feeling like everything was going nowhere and that everything was fine in not going.
I got back on the bus.
She had a bag of chips and a good heart. She thought I hadn’t eaten much and offered me some food. She began to talk about things like kindness, honesty and the human heart.
I liked the human heart, in as much as it didn’t hurt me, which wasn’t much of the time, but I liked the time I spent listening to her voice.
She talked for a while.
I talked for a while.
The bus came in.
She asked if I had a ride home.
I said I had a ride home.
I had a ride, but I wished more than anything I didn’t.
the softness of her skin
the cold smell in fall
standing water in the field