Disorienteering by Fred Osuna

We leave at dusk in a borrowed car, two of us, driving from Boston to the border, our only stop a package store in New Hampshire for liquid provisions. At night, on these New England roads, there is no light, no pink sodium-vapor glow, no guideposts. Just dense, thick darkness, all shades of black marshaled together, pushing back against the paltry spark of our headlights.

Once we cross into Québec, there is nothing.

Our instructions: drive two miles due north and bear left at the crossing. In the murk, we see no crossing, no markings, no turnoff. We are unaware that miles in this country are not a standard unit of measurement.

We soldier on into the alien midnight.

We ascend on a narrow, rutted, winding road, iced and bumpy, moving at 10 mph or less.

The heater fails.

Another hour passes. I can see my breath. Gene pisses in his water bottle and passes it to me, a hand-warmer to help loosen my Ivy League death grip on the wheel.

Around 4 a.m., the road winds downward. I feel we’re heading south. As the sun begins its soft glow, I see a sign to our destination. 1.5 km from us, it sits, glowing at the base of a network of runs, all converging like a natural pointer saying, HERE IT IS!

In the distance, Gene spies the border arcade – the one we apparently missed – while I imagine the comfort of walking on hot coals, a shower, French toast.


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Filed under Fred Osuna

6 responses to “Disorienteering by Fred Osuna

  1. Really intense focus on this journey, this crossing that holds promise yet danger. Nicely done.

  2. the vapors and the marshaled darks were both really wonderful visions–especially as I sit here mired in the “Night” myself. Very vivid and with a nice tension that the ending releases the way that only signs when you’re lost can.

  3. A lovely journey told with vivid details and energy. I like how the narrative arc rings true and how the “we were once lost, but now, are found” theme is a quick wrap at the end. A nice reprieve from so many flash piece that leave us wondering…what next?

  4. I love the short, one sentence paragraphs that alternate with the longer descriptive passages. They add humor and also speed the narrative. Nice job. Doris

  5. guy

    I try to figure out where they were. Probably not around Phillipsburg. Derby? Help! I’m lost!

  6. Pingback: Week #37 – Border town | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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