We were seventeen, doing 70 mph on the road outside New-Duluth
barreling down the hill to Fond du Lac. Tom was too drunk to drive,
Pat was at the helm of the big Ford boat. Tom had a sister no one
knew about. She was retarded, had been locked up since she’s eight.
He was rolling in the bench seat laughing so hard he couldn’t talk.
He married his college sweetheart; it was snowing that November
when his sister died. Pat was stoned, head back, hands pounding
on the wheel whooping. Two days before, his brother tried suicide,
the next day his fifteen year old girlfriend told him she was pregnant.
He took off to NYC, came back born again and suburbanized. I was
splayed on the hood; wind whipped my shirt right out of my pants,
fingers cut bloody from the molding; I felt like a kite caught in a tree.
That night Valerie broke up with me, accused me of cheating; couldn’t
tell her I wanted to die in my sleep, within reach of all my mistakes.