When the car hits his body, it’s kind of funny. It doesn’t seem real. Skyler holds the Burger King bag, two single patty burgers with ketchup only, two small sides of fries. My Sprite spills in the backseat.
He was on a bike. But the bike is gone now. I only know there once was a bike under him. It’s snowing, but I sweat in my coat inside the car.
I was looking out the window. I had “Say You’ll Be There” stuck in my head. I saw a boy on a bike and another boy walking beside him. I saw his butt hit the car. Mom was saying something, her voice like feathers. She was telling us something.
I felt the car vibrate. I felt the weight of his body on the hood of the car. I imagine a purple bruise forming on his backside, a lump the size of an apple. People get hit by cars, I think. This is something that happens. How will we get home? Skyler asks the air in the car.
Mom gets out and tells us to stay. She collapses next to the boy. The boy is crying, hunched over. He won’t look at her.
The air in the car smells like fried potatoes.
The boys walk away like a movie, out into the rest of the day like it hasn’t changed their lives. They pass under a bridge and are gone.
We wait for our mother. She will know what comes next. I think about forever. It’s either not long enough, or it’s too far away. Mom comes back and she is different now. She is still our mother, but she is new.
Brittany Ackerman is a writer from Riverdale, New York. She earned her BA in English from Indiana University and graduated from Florida Atlantic University’s MFA program in Creative Writing. She teaches Archetypal Psychology at AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Hollywood, CA. She was the 2017 Nonfiction Award Winner for Red Hen Press, as well as the AWP Intro Journals Project Award Nominee in 2015. Her work has been featured in The Los Angeles Review, No Tokens, Hobart, Cosmonauts Ave, Fiction Southeast, and more. Her first collection of essays entitled The Perpetual Motion Machine is out now with Red Hen Press. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.