The Passed Note Issue 6 February 2018 - Page 17

Grayson Cameron

After the Game

My father drives with his elbow propped on the lip of the window so that he can rest his head on his palm. His window is down and his is face tilted over the passing bits of road to his left, away from me. My father has nothing to say and neither do I, so we both listen to NPR on the radio. It is past nine on a weekday night after one of my high school basketball games.

I say, “I’m cold.”

So my father shifts his position and then goes to click the button for the window. The sound that the wind makes as the window closes reminds me of how it sounds in my head when jumping into a swimming pool, the sound of forcing that one last gulp of air into my lungs as I brace for contact. Then the window is closed and so the sound of the wind is gone, melted with the constant sound of tires on pavement or else the quick, pulsing sound of road bumps whenever my father takes his time to change lanes.

I say, “What was the name of that swimming pool we used to swim at?”

“Which?”

“That one by our old house. In D.C.”

After a while my father says, “Shoot. Can’t remember right now.”

We drive past the usual places on the way home. Milton’s burger stand is first. Always the burger stand, then Woodlands grocery store, Lighthouse Cafe, the greenhouses behind the hospital, the county firehouse. Three firemen standing in the grass out front are fastening a piece of stret-