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by Suzanne Pearman

Johnny said, “For such a long time, I hated stories about people beginning to do better for themselves, because they just reminded me that I wasn’t.”

I looked out the window of the bus at the flat plains extending in every direction. I thought, this could be Kansas, or Oklahoma, or Nebraska … This could be any other dry, dull, dusty western state, and I had expected something more from Colorado.

“Do you know what I’m saying?” he asked me.

“I do. Yeah.” I meant it.

I was still wondering when the Rockies would show up. “Are you sure that we’re in Colorado?”

He was.

“I just thought that there would be more hills by now. It doesn’t look the way that I imagined it.”

The sun was dipping down low towards that spot on the horizon where the road narrowed to a single speck. I had learned about perspective in seventh-grade art class, but still, as I looked towards the vanishing point, I felt not that we were approaching something but, rather, that the road ahead was shrinking.

I knew that if we continued the way we were going, it would taper off to nothing.

I wanted to tell Johnny that we were doomed, but we had never been the type to admit it.

Instead, I said, “I hope we reach the mountains before sunset.”

Suzanne Pearman is a Chicago-based writer and graduate student whose work has been featured in Sunlit, Voicemail Poems, 22nd Century Lit, Internet Poetry, and I Can’t Stop Thinking About Diet Coke. As a screenwriter, her work has also appeared in film festivals and on broadcast TV. Suzanne is constantly devising new ways to mortify herself on the internet, most notably on Twitter (@sunshineonvenus) and in her 2013 e-book 98% Enemy, available on Scribd.