• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 10

Rainbow-Hued Highway

As a kid, I’d count cars as they passed on the highway. Mostly those with wheels that worked. Blue meant money. Beige signified honey. Silver was reserved for dreams of tomorrow. Orange was always sunny. I believed pots of gold were waiting at the base of rainbows – somewhere down the freeway. Everyone sought something. Pedals and petals. Trees and breezes. Surround sound. Given the speed limit, all associations were quick. Also quirked. I’d watch them stack and stock matchbox miniatures, fill dollar store coloring books, and craft stories as I sat on my back porch. The sedan was an oversized marine animal. The yellow Volkswagen Beetle was a baby chicken. The tanker was an eagle with no wings. The house was sold to us at a deep discount. When us still meant three and deuces were reserved for card games at dusk. Friendly games of War. Fierce matches made for open stretches. The asphalt and late-night tours of trucks that roared never bothered us much. The noise was as much a part of our home as my Kmart-brand trucks and Father’s toys. We sought a place for our roots and were routed west. The home was ours in which to feast. “They’ll build a sound barrier,” the real estate agent promised. “One day, one day soon,” her assistant said. Our deposit was their own retirement plan. Forty years later the backyard is now a resting place for hub caps, cigarette butts, and unclaimed wants. Needs are as much seeds as weeds. Speed limits dare as much as they caution. Father moved on. Mother chose cremation. The agent’s one day never came. Yesterday is still counted, consumed, and colored of displaced manatees, premature chicks, and clipped wings. The hedges I planted myself have since grown into a landscape of their own. Both a visor and a vision of the shadows of dreams in perpetual motion. Mostly, one way. Trimmed on regular Sundays. Just after prayers on fumes up and down the rainbow-hued highway.