Now she gave the child a look that she imagined she could take to
another world. “You and me,” she said aloud. The child nodded. BRB
did not see the man again, maybe it was that when you made your mind
up to stop being afraid, it worked. She floored the gas and swerved the
car to the left, and she felt the metal finding air, a terrific weightlessness.
She kept her foot on the gas, so silly, but nice-feeling. For the briefest
of moments the car seemed to be cliff-wise, like this was another gear
with which it had been equipped. The trees ahead of them and the trees
below them did not appear pointy but plush. They looked like they did
in Tahoe, when she had driven with her best friend into the mountains
for a ski trip with a group they did not know. She’d spent the whole
weekend wishing the boy with the husky dog would try something.
When she realized her best friend was wishing for the same thing, she
figured they were doomed. But they drank Moscow mules in hot tubs
and smoked pot out of snaking hookahs and drank the pot in tea and
ate chicken dumplings, and the weekend was great and so was almost
everything that happened thereafter. In the mirror, her daughter’s eyes
did something they had never done—glowed with a surreal and alien
wisdom. It was not, BRB understood, the wisdom the child would gain
after seventy years on this Earth but precisely the opposite. That which
she would lose. BRB closed her eyes—there was so much more time than
she thought there would be!—remembered her long, tan legs that hot
night in Singapore, how it felt to be the cream of a room. She opened her
eyes and communed that feeling to her daughter, she beamed it into the
child’s bright blue eyes. From the radio the long-haired Hawaiian girl
sang out, I AM MO-ANA! And BRB watched in the rearview as a tiny
fist raised itself into the air. For the briefest of moments, BRB felt they
would be saved. And then she found that they were.
Lisa Taddeo is a two-time recipient of the Pushcart Prize. Her
debut nonfiction, Three Women, is out this summer from Simon
and Schuster, to be followed by her first novel and story collection. Find her online at www.lisataddeo.com.