Without Realizing
Kyle Beachy

She was running late and driving ruthlessly, barking important phone calls one after the next, turning down streets she'd memorized without realizing, fucking Boston, and now this hidden cobblestone alleyway assholed between two reflective towers, a loading dock on top of which the misogynist client stood tall, slim-suited and statue-still and dressed in a suit she sadly recognized from his last trip, hanging from his hotel room's rack, a man now the exact center of the alleyway's mayhem, all the workers and he a stolid and small-dicked central axis around which they hustled inside of jumpsuits, lifting and moving and setting back down, a job basic as they came, Reality's equivalent of her fiancé's suddenly stupid-seeming repetitions at the gym, his protein shakes and a hundred-fifty-dollar membership every month and the gym's cramped-hot laundry room full of Latinas and their own loading, the endless parade of white towels, and not for the first time she felt awestruck and besieged by the vast system of gears churning constantly in this national engine, America the company, everybody forever hustling and her eyes fell shut and she stayed there for a breath, two, and then opened them to an image of the client, except now he was wearing the jumpsuit of his employees and leaning against one of the trucks with one of his hands in a pocket while the other held a dark red apple, a break for this hard-working master of industry, and for her this seemed at once a failure of the system and a reminder of her time before the system, back home in Spruce Corner, Massachusetts, the name alone making her smile, Spruce Corner, thoughts of her first ever business and the hours she spent behind that old wooden table roadside with the sign she painted, letters dripping, smiling at how she sold the fruit while eating the fruit, the slight chew and medium body, the aroma, sun overhead, smell of home and childhood and systemless living, smiling at the thought of strangers who would stop, charmed by the beauty of apples picked from the ancient trees out back, how they'd grip the small baskets in one hand and nod as they left, some even tipping their cap before turning to the road, and it felt like something old, perhaps lost, and she blinked hard once more and the client was back in his suit, still and again the center of movements she moved alongside and by, driving calmly but surely past the loading dock and back onto adopted city streets and heading for the Turnpike, and her only plan, only agenda, was inward, deeper into the land, call her fiancé later, call the client later, for now it was old and it was beauty and it was America and it was.

Kyle Beachy is the author of the novel The Slide (Dial Press).

To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/201010wr.htm

Detail of illustration on main page courtesy of Waldo Jaquith.

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