Bombs like a Flock of Birds
We watched the bombs fall from inside your car, a powder blue 1992 Chevy Cavalier. Two doors. Which at one point must have been a good car, but it wasn’t ’92 but actually more like a quarter century later. It was held together by duct tape, pieces of fabric, bobby pins, and hair ties instead of whatever actually holds a car together. And it ran more from willpower than combustion.
We were commuting to work. Moving our free time to paid labor. The car rattled. The car shook. It alternated between the two and sometimes both at the same time. We drove down the boulevard. We always did because the large stone homes that looked like mansions, but I don’t know the delineation between a large home and a mansion, made us feel upper class. And the trees were always full, except in the winter, but it wasn’t winter and they made us feel small. And sometimes, secretly, only to myself on bad days, did I want to cut the trees down for that reason.
We watched the first fall and not explode. You said something about how strange the weather was and laughed nervously and I laughed genuinely.
And then more came. And I said they looked like birds falling from the sky. I wasn’t sure which was more ominous, the image or the fact.
The more that fell were not duds. At least most of them weren’t. And, at first, they brightened the overcast sky with large fiery explosions. But the smoke that followed poured into the sky making it look like a swirling midnight painted in broad, undulating brush strokes.
We were headed to work, but you, after the bombs kept falling, didn’t want to go. Just not going gave me more anxiety than the firestorms blowing through the street like visible wind. At least we should stop in to see if they were still open and if they were maybe they would cut us because no one would be coming in to eat, I said. You wanted to run for the hills, that’s what you said and I retorted, in my shitty way, there are no hills here in Chicago and probably nowhere in the Midwest.
And I suppose the stress was getting to you and I suppose it was getting to me in my own way. You told me to get out, that’s what you said. I didn’t want to get out because I had just learned then that the best place to watch bombs destroy a city is from the inside of a ’92 powder blue Chevy Cavalier. This is what you said and it made me love you in a way that can only happen while bombs are falling from the sky over a metropolitan American city while sitting inside a powder blue 1992 Chevy Cavalier, you said I had to get in the back and not talk.
You drove on, looking for hills, and because it was a two door car I put my feet up and laid back like I did as a child, slowly falling asleep to the glow of fire and the rumble of bombs.
About the Author: Eric Balaz holds an MFA from Roosevelt University in Chicago IL. He has fiction published at 3 a.m. magazine.com, Crabfat Literary Magazine, Dark Matter journal, and the Oyez Review.