The Bus Stop Dreaming

A quiet half-moon gives meager light to the coastal city, a place that reclines into the foothills at the base of the greenish-blue water.

As the man approaches, she braces herself against a parking meter, shaking so much it vibrates. He stumbles toward her, his workday shirt unbuttoned at the collar and the sleeves rolled up right below his elbows, revealing his forearms, muscles stretched as tight as guitar strings.

The whites of her eyes are like moons broken by dark volcanic cores. She screams, and the night noises of the city seem to deaden in comparison. She swings at the man and the momentum sends her flailing, wrist over shoulder, into a run in the opposite direction. Her long rust-colored skirt trails on the gritty pavement as she runs down the sidewalk towards Cook Street.

#

I only stayed in the dormitory at Townsville for one year of University, and then I transferred to a school with a better Economics program in Sydney. It wasn’t that anybody was outright mean to me in Townsville; I mean, it hardly happens that way anymore. There was only one specific incident during my first week at Uni, and even then, the poor blokes weren’t trying to be mean. A couple of guys were chatting one day in the toilets, and starting to get into it pretty bad. Then I rocked up just as Mike was cursing the other bloke for acting like a “goddamn Aborigine.” As soon as he got those words out of his mouth, he caught a glimpse of me in the mirror above the sinks and blushed, saying, “Look, Jae, I meant nothing by it,” and I said, “no worries,” because he just looked terrible about it.

No, the really dodgy thing about the dormitory was the loneliness, not the meanness. I felt it creep into my room from the first time I moved in, the stillness permeating even my sleeping body as I huddled closer to the wall on the tiny dormitory-issued cot, feeling that my room was as wide and vast as the desert. Every night the whole floor was noisy with wrestling and shouting and drinking and coughing, and girls sneaking out of rooms in the middle of the night. Nobody ever approached me. I wondered why I had even come to live here, all the way from Cairns, too many kilometers away.

Everlyn was the only other one here, in our dormitory, at least. It was a simple, accepted fact, and we both knew it, as did everybody else, but it seemed so arbitrary. What were we to say to each other? I knew nothing about her, where she came from, and she knew no more about me. I always came in late to the dining hall for meals, not wanting to be bothered finding a seat at a table next to a chatty bunch, where I’d be forced to sit on the periphery and make conversation, not for want of company, but more out of social courtesy. I got on well enough with people, but it really was work in itself, chatting with these new people in this new place. I brought a much livelier companion with me to my late lunch on this particular day, a book called Voss, which I was reading for my Australian Literature class. The book’s German protagonist, Voss, was a heady and prideful man, who got the brilliant idea to lead an expedition across Australia during the mid-1800s, only to have his men drop off one by one. He was eventually decapitated at the hands of the Aboriginals in the central western dessert.

I was at the part where Voss was sitting under a tree, realizing that he possessed a destiny far greater than the colonial village of Sydney, in which he was temporarily stranded before his expedition, and contemplating the great task before him, the first-ever trek across Australia from east to west.

In the dining hall, the tables were almost empty, just a few students in the corner drinking tea and chatting quietly. Everlyn, carrying an orange tray of spaghetti-on-toast, sat down at the table next to mine. I tried to go back to reading, but the words kept blurring and stopped making sense. I heard the swipe of her palm as she brushed some crumbs onto the floor. Everlyn had a broad forehead and a full smile, a soft nose, cutely rounded and pushed in. Her skin was coffeecolored; I wondered if maybe she was a half-caste.

Up through grade twelve, I had been in a school that was equal parts white children and equal parts Aboriginal children. Cairns had quite a high Aboriginal population, so it was quite natural to see our kind wherever we went. But it wasn’t the same at University.

Everlyn, with her soft face, continued eating by herself and averted her eyes from me so that finally, I became so intrigued by her that I actually felt the need to initiate a conversation. She ignored me, but I asked her again, and then I got us both talking, surprising myself more than anything else. She told me about her studies in Literature, and about her family, and about the poetry she wrote at night, poems that I would eventually read, that were so unlike anything I had ever read in my school courses, these poems of Everlyn’s which were not linear, but rather circular, and quite confusing. She told me that they reminded her of the Dreamtime, which I knew a little about from the tribal people that moved into Cairns from the Great Sandy Desert. I was not religious, but marveled at how Everlyn was connected to something, and it was something that I had come from, too.

“Spirituality is great and all that,” I told her. “But when it comes down to it, all that really matters is what you do right here, right now.”

“But we can’t forget the past,” she said. “We can’t forget the ‘why.’”

And I got curious, about her, about Aboriginals. She was the only person here that I called a friend, so, when in her enthusiasm, she enrolled in an Aboriginal History field class, I signed up right along with her. It was a weekend class, a field trip of sorts, out into the bush, meeting with the Aborigines and learning about the culture and the dreams.

We took buses about two hundred kilometers outside of Townsville, until we got into real bush country, where the ground became melon orange and grass came out in patches, where dust was thick in the air, thick as oxygen. The sun, unobstructed, beat down upon the hood of our bus mercilessly, until at last we came out, sleepy-eyed humans, onto the breathing earth.

We had two guides, Ainslie and Dugald, who took us out into the dehydrated fields and taught us some of the survival techniques of the bush and desert-dwelling Aboriginal tribes. We learned to make fire from sticks, to throw spears using the woomera, to throw boomerangs. Then we heard the music, the didgeridoo with its incomparable, outer space lull. Of our two guides, Ainslie was the older. He had a pear-shaped face like mine, and a dry white beard. His speech wasn’t eloquent. He relayed to us only the necessary information.

The two guides led us into a cave, beyond the field, formed in the downward slope of a hill. At the entrance, we sat down while Ainslie, looking like a mystic, waved his hand over the cave paintings before him, never touching the cave wall, but seeming to feel the grainy texture on his fingertips.

He indicated a painted serpent, thick and banana colored, on the cold, red wall. “This is Yellow Snake Dreaming,” he said. “Yellow Snake came out of the ground in the Dreamtime, moved, and made pathways in the soft, red earth, the largest of which is the Red River. Rain came and sank the other pathways, but the Red River so big that it held the water, holds it still. Then Snake went below the ground again, person who was Yellow Snake. Dreams of his waking pastime, his future.”

We followed the path of the snake across the cave wall, dropping below ground and back up again, the silver raindrops chasing at his tail, the rippling water of the Red River cupped in between curvy cliffs. Ainslie carried on. “The Dreaming,” he said, “is many things. It is the beginning of time, which is also right now, which is also in the time ahead, years from now. Two separate times; one time daily life, daily decisions. Another time infinite, circle, spirit world, being to us the laws, how to live on the land, how to interact with people of our country.”

But by now he had lost me, and I hardly had a clue what he was on about. The old bloke, talking slowly, was not agitated. Unlike our teachers at school, who spoke pointedly, desperate for us to listen, he was speaking only for those who cared to hear. I listened politely, but not grasping. He had no bullet points. He just spoke. The Dreamtime was the Ancestral Present. At the beginning of time, the spirits moved in a formless land like fields of energy, naming things and shaping things and singing the world into existence. The essences of the Dreaming were what we saw in the land, in each other, in behavior. It accounted for the Red River in the same way it accounted for a young child being temperamental. Essences of what had happened in the early time were left behind in the physical terrain of the land, in the dreams of the subconscious, in how a person was, in what a person did.

I wasn’t entirely clear how all these concepts connected, and I doubt if any of the white students did either, descendants of Europe, who had come over and lived in clusters on the coastal cities, hiding from the deserts, pushing the Aboriginals further and further into the arid center of their own country. Like many other religions, a bunch of abstract concepts were strewn together and believed to make sense, to transcend what is known scientifically and chronologically about the tangible world. On the way back to the bus, Ainslie began walking beside us, our three shadows moving across the chalky ground as gracefully as figures reflected in a pool of water. “Who your people?” he asked.

“Walpiri,” Everlyn said.

“You, young man? What is your country?”

“Australia,” I said.

“No,” he said. “Who your People?”

I thought about it; the beaches of Cairns, the tourists, the rainbow reef below the blue-green water. The flat that Mum and I had lived in above the grocery store with the grease stain on the hard wood floor, which Mum had covered up with a rug, ever since I could remember.

I answered his question, as best I could.

“I’m not tribal,” I said. “I’m from the city.”

#

She is running like an animal that has already been shot.

Turning around to see if he is still following her, she falls onto a rectangular concrete block, a raised structure lining the side of the Australian National Bank with purple flowers. She catches herself against the moist dirt of the flowerbed, the dirt repositioning itself around the obstruction of her hand. When she regains her balance and whisks her hand away, the dirt is rearranged, her eternal handprint in the earth.

Steadying herself, she notices a gash on her palm, a disruption upon her smooth skin from a piece of glass that had been embedded in the dirt. He stands still, panting, as she looks down at the gash in her hand, her fingers spread wide like a cat’s paw in a stretch. Silence, as foreboding as a thousand stares, closes in on them like invisible walls of pressurized matter so that they can’t move. Barely audible, the fall wind zigzags across palm leaves, the earth exhaling in exasperation.

Across the street, people are waiting at a bus stop. They stop talking and look up from their books, take off their headphones.

The man grabs her again. But this time, as he shakes her, something drops from the large shoulder bag that now hangs from her elbow, and lands clumsily on the pavement with a soft thud.

#

We spotted a desert bilby on the hill behind campus, its burnt brown color blending in with the dirt it sat on. It had been raking the soil with its claws, its long lean nose still touching the ground as we approached. “He’s a brave one,” I whispered to Everlyn. “These little guys can hear you coming for miles.”

“Is that Walpajirri?” she asked, walking around the edge of the clearing to get a look at the rare creature from the side.

These tiny creatures, with the upper body of a rat, the ears and lower body of a rabbit, and spindly extremities, were desert creatures, confined mostly to the north and west, where few humans venture. “What are you doing out here, little mate?” I asked it, more wondering out loud to myself and to Everlyn.

“We’re lucky to see one,” she said, crouching. Her hair was in a long brown ponytail, trailing down to the dip in her back, falling to the right of her waist as she leaned forward. “He’s about to go the way of his cousin.”

I stood up and surveyed the horizon, the city marina clogged with white sails and smokestacks; the hilltop overlooking the bay lay up and ahead of us still. Long, dry grasses had covered most of the path; here a tiny clearing had just happened to open up, and one of the country’s endangered species was sitting in the middle of it, unflinching, as my friend studied it. Everlyn looked bemused, tilting her head to the side as she gazed upon the rare rat-like creature.

Everlyn had become my closest friend. I could talk to her for hours and never feel like I was working at it, because I became genuinely interested in things, in her culture, in the history of her people which were, actually, in a way, my people, but a people of which my own Mum had never spoken.

Never happy in the dormitory to begin with, I now spent heaps of time outside with Everlyn. I would ignore the other students, and instead head off with the beautiful Aboriginal, the only other one who was becoming a part of me. We would go to the beach together, hiking from campus when it would have taken only fifteen minutes by bus, our feet becoming thick and chalky with every sandaled step upon the earth as we walked. We spent time wandering around the sloping hills surrounding Uni, creating our new Dreamtime, naming things as we went, as though we were the Ancestral Beings ourselves.

I hadn’t forgotten that in Voss, the protagonist had been captured by an Aboriginal tribe and murdered as a human sacrifice during the full moon. It was a spirituality of connectedness, but I could not get out of my head the rumors of the strange traditions the Great Sandy Desert tribe had had in my old town: the arranged marriages, the ancient methods of circumcision, the restriction against direct communication with one’s mother-in-law.

Everlyn and I would also talk about our fathers, both lost to us by the bottle, and make up stories for what might have happened to them. Perhaps they were together somewhere, regretful, crying with their faces down on the bar, mourning their children who were not stolen from them, but discarded voluntarily. “It’s the evil drink of the Europeans,” Everlyn would say. “It makes you violent, crazy; it makes you not recognize your own family, your own people. It makes you act out against them and destroy them. I never want to go near a man who lets it get to his soul the way my father did.”

As we watched the bilby now, the tiny rat-like creature started burrowing its way into the ground. Its long ears, which were almost the size of its whole body, disappeared under the brown and green arid soil and grass. “I never thought I’d see that!” Everlyn said.

She was always amazed by nature. “Look, we’d better get up to the top if we want to make it back for dinner, yes?” I said, grabbing her hand softly and leading her towards the top of Castle Hill, where we had come after classes to get away for awhile. The bilby had vanished completely from sight.

“You still don’t like it here, I can tell,” Everlyn said suddenly.

“I don’t like most of the people,” I said.

She shook her head. “You’re a quiet bloke in public. People get scared of silence, yeah? They don’t like when things are kept from them, no matter how mundane. In fact, the more mundane the better. It gives them the impression that your minds are the same.”

A pair of joggers ran by us in bright outfits. An orange cat with clumped fur sat out in the grasses beyond the Castle Hill lookout, watching.

“I’m not worried about those other people,” I said.

“It’s like a desert out here for us,” she said.

#

Everlyn cried when I left Townsville, appearing at my front door in the middle of the night like a watchful spirit, silent tears coursing down her plump and childlike cheeks, begging me not to leave her alone with all the white ghosts that haunted the halls and the rooms, the stone buildings and the overgrown pathways of the campus. Everlyn herself often spoke of ghosts, imagining how it must have been to live in a land for 50,000 years or so and all of a sudden spot a ship in the distance, a ship carrying men the color of spirits, the kind that you happen upon in caves or in dreams at night.

“You’re going to leave me?” she said.

I grabbed her hand and led her into my room, closing the door softly behind us. I held her close to me, her tears already wetting my shirt. She smelled like apricots. It was rare, sweet, but not overpowering. “Ghosts,” she said, her face still buried in my t-shirt.

“What?” I repeated, pulling back and holding her so that she could look me in the eye. “I don’t understand what you’re telling me.”

“Do I have to spell it out for you? You’re the only other one,” she said, collapsing once again onto my chest.

“Listen,” I said, gently. “You’re going to be okay. You’re strong, yeah? You’re going to graduate and get a good-paying job and support your mum and brothers. You’re going to be good, mate.”

This time she pushed herself away from me, and went over to my window, pulling the cloth drapes aside, looking out onto the grasses between our dorm and the next. A stray dog was moving stealthily in the night. She turned back around to face me, and said, quite simply, “I showed you my Dreamings.”

She owned several Dreamings, all described in vivid detail in her leather bound book of poetry. The Honey Ant Dreaming, the Kangaroo Dreaming, the Gum Tree Dreaming. Of course, there were many versions of these same Dreamings, but these ones were of her own home. She was worried, though. The Honey Ant Dreaming told of destruction, a destruction that had plagued her father and that she believed to be dangerous for her. I told her that my father had been plagued by the same destructive force. “You need to watch out for it,” she said. “It comes after our souls. Our souls that have been knocked down, that want to run but are fenced in.”

I looked at Everlyn, my only friend in a place that may have treated me as coldly as I had expected it to. What was I leaving her behind to? Like any little girl that I’d ever seen cry, her tears softened my heart, and even softened my resolve. But I knew what was riding on my success. It wasn’t just about me. And I wanted to make Everlyn proud, too.

In the delirium of the desert, she’d been with me.

#

She is yelling out in her mother tongue. As she grapples with him, he struggles to get around her and retrieve the item, which fell out of her bag and onto the pavement, lying amidst the grains of pavement, smelling of beer. Snatching it up, he lets go of her arm, but she continues to scream, pointing at him.

The sirens come quickly, and the police have arrived. She watches, still shaking, still frightened, as the men come out of the police car and grab him, grab him as he tries to run away, and wrestle him down to the stain-soaked pavement, his cheek to the grainy surface. From a facedown position, he is handcuffed and positioned, like a toy, into a sitting position in the back of the car. The people across the street are an active audience now, speaking amongst themselves, formerly strangers but now mates in a time of trouble, whispering, “Yeah, that’s another of ‘em.”

“Pissed again, it seems.”

One of the officers waits with the Aborigine woman as his mate uses the squad car to drive her attacker, a large Aboriginal bloke with nice workpants, to the police station She notices her hand, throbbing, still bleeding, slightly, from where she had cut it against a piece of glass in the purple flowerbed. She presses her fist against the bleeding pain, and glances back at the concrete block containing the flowerbed, where a red print gives a mystic air to the manmade creation. The essence of what has happened, of the Dreaming this night on the streets of the city, will work its way into the morning. Perhaps people sitting out by the flowers on their afternoon lunch breaks will happen upon the strange red print. She wonders what they will make of it, that is, if these people still believe, as she does, that the stories shape the lives.

#

After Uni, I pleased my mum by getting a job straight away. The only glitch was that I had to stay in Sydney, as my best offer had come from a bank that had its headquarters there. I bought a new flat on the outskirts of town, taking the bus to work every day. My workmates were decent and polite, and the pay was fine, but I felt the old loneliness creeping in again, and I sometimes saw my workmates stare at me as though they thought I were a bit dodgy, again being the only Aboriginal in sight for miles. So I knew I needed to start making concessions.

One afternoon, my workmates approached me as I was leaving for the day, turning off my computer and reaching for my jacket. There were three blokes, rolling up their shirt sleeves as the afternoon was getting hotter, smiling at me behind tanned white skin and mustaches. “Hey, how ya goin’, Jae?” one asked. “Hey listen, mate, we’re about to head over to Bully’s for a few beers. You wanna come with us?”

Being as Mum always raised me to avoid the bottle, and seeing how much good it had done Dad, I had never had a drop of drink, and I reckoned that was what had kept me from a majority of my social interactions back at Uni. But this time, I reckoned I was a man, and I would stop when it was time, and besides, I needed to stop blowing off offers of friendship, as
these would be my people from now on, as far as I knew.

And so I conceded. We walked across the block to Bullwinkle’s, a bar for business people after work, and a disco later at night for the younger people. We sat in a corner booth, the four of us, and my mates took several tequila shots. I only had one beer, which seemed good enough for all of them.

We started getting on like good mates. It was sweltering now, in the corner amidst all these people, so I unbuttoned my collar and rolled up the sleeves on my work shirt, right below my elbows. The boys were telling funny stories about growing up, about Uni, about wives and girlfriends, and it was quite an easygoing atmosphere after awhile. I listened with interest and laughed when they laughed. The mate sitting to my right leaned over and, putting his arm around my shoulder, turned the conversation over to me. “Jae,” he said. “Are you a tribal bloke at all?”

I told him I wasn’t.

“Then wouldn’t you like to know a bit more about that culture? It’s a pretty fascinating spirituality, I’ve heard.”

I told him that, as far as I had heard, it was.

“Well, aren’t you a bit more curious about your people?” they asked.

“Well, I reckon,” I said, but finding it hard to form the words now, as I was beginning to feel a bit pissed, my lips a bit bloated. “Yes and no, I guess. I mean, it’s not something I’ve grown up with. My mum raised me in the city and I’ve mostly had contact just with city blacks and whites.”

I glanced around at the interior of Bully’s. There were tables, and the bar, and trays, and spills and stenches. I fancied the idea of Dreaming in this new setting, this modern setting, with Dreamtime stories of bars and tables, of the stains left by spills.

Without being rational, I continued on speaking to the men who were looking so intently at me, as though I were a mystic, or someone foreign. “And my mum and dad were products of the Stolen Generation, so they didn’t have much left of Aboriginal culture to impart to me.”

The men were still looking at me, a bit cautious now. I guess it hadn’t helped that I had been such a recluse at Uni. Now that I was actually speaking to people, I seemed to be going about it the wrong way. “Yes, I just mentioned the Stolen Generation. It’s okay, mates. Next round is on me!”

“He’s pissed!” one of them laughed.

We all laughed, and got another round.

But now I wasn’t feeling cheery anymore. I found myself focusing in on certain thoughts, closing in upon myself in reflection. I thought again about the Dreaming. My very own ancestors had been around for 60,000 years, possibly even 85,000, in some areas of thinking. They had sustained themselves in an arid, vastly uninhabitable land for a long time; wasn’t something working? But then again, I thought, something was not working. If James Cook had arrived, advanced as the Europeans were at that time, to find the Aboriginals still in a primitive state, wasn’t it just as inevitable as Voss dying in the desert that the Europeans would eradicate the Aboriginals? It was simple Darwinism. I mean, it was the progress that had given us cures for diseases and might one day beam us all up into space to a new planet. Was that the plan of the Ancestral Beings? Was progress a part of a tradition that is always moving forward, and backward, and remaining in stasis?

If I was moving forward in a straight line, what was my less tangible course in the Dreamtime?

I quickly told my mates I must be off. It was becoming arduous now, sitting there with them, trying to be polite and maintain the standards of courtesy while all these thoughts were swirling around in my head, and also feeling suddenly like I’d begun to combat a slow lethargy, which was weighing down upon my eyelids and my balance. For most of childhood and Uni, I’d been a stranger to the bottle, and now even the tiny amount that I’d consumed was proving more than my mind and body could handle. So I paid the proper amount that I owed, and walked down Little Sussex Street to catch the bus back to my flat and my bed.

All this time, trying to advance myself, to be successful – and rightfully so, as there seemed to be no other way to survive—I had blown off being spiritual, I had covered my ears against the cries of my ancestors, had listened with only mild interest to the stories of my family’s forced entry into civilization, and of course, had taken for granted the companionship of the one person I knew who cared about these things above all else. These things I had considered weaknesses. I was an outcast. There was no fighting that. I always had been at Uni and I would always be at my job, and it would most likely never go away. The social airs I put on were out of necessity, and most likely, everybody knew they were fake.

The civilized tribe, or the tribal civilization.

Turning the corner at Little Sussex, I saw the bus pull away and realized that I’d made it there too late. I would have to wait for the next one in ten minutes. I stood at the corner and began gazing up at the moon, a half moon that shone like a pearl, as the sea air cooled the sweat beads on my forehead.

Looking back down, I happened upon a dark-skinned woman moving towards me in the muted vision of the nighttime. Her skin seemed to glisten with the moisture of the sea air; a rustcolored skirt danced with the uneven movement of her legs. “Everlyn,” I said, as though she might be a vision.

I was sure it was Everlyn. The proud forehead and the soft nose, the symmetrical teeth behind the full lips, the long hair let loose in the wind, wavy now and starting to curl in the humidity.

Her expression didn’t change. Her eyes were milky and unfeeling. She didn’t smile, but she did stop walking. When she stopped, she swayed on her feet like the buoys on the jellyfish nets in the beach water. She swayed in the strong tides of water that knocked her this way and that, and at first I thought that I was the one swaying, being that I was so pissed. But her eyes were restless and there were tight lines on her forehead, and she looked unwell. She was pissed, or something worse.

She held out her hand, palm up, the other resting on her hip. The skin below her eyes was puffy.

“Everlyn, are you alright?” I said. “It’s Jae, your mate. Look, I know I got a suit on, but don’t you recognize me?”

She didn’t answer. The look of her scared me, as though she had a fever and was writhing in pain beneath the sweat-soaked bedcovers, and I couldn’t help her.

“You’re a businessman now, then,” she said, in a voice that I hardly recognized.

“Evey!” I said again. “Look, are you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”

She began advancing on me, the wildness in her eyes revealing anger. “I need money,” she snarled, whispering hoarsely.

I realized that I was sick from the drinking; that my body was sleepy but my mind was wild with excitement, and I saw how beautifully dark she was, her wide eyes beaming out at me in the night.

“I was born into this world self-sufficient,” she said, reaching up to grab me by the collar of my shirt as I looked down at her, stunned, “and I am not going to hang onto anybody’s coattails or beg them for food that should have been mine!”

Then she shoved her hand roughly into my jeans pocket, before I even knew what was happening, and grabbed my wallet, screaming, “I’m taking back what you took from us!”

My desperation drained down through my neck and torso, trickling down my legs and out my toes. And I felt anger. I ran after her and heard the reverberations, unfamiliar yet eerily recognizable, like the sound of the didgeridoo against the aerial view of the desert in movies. I ran with it, and my anger grew. She had taken my wallet, and now I had no way of getting home, had no one to call, had no cab or bus fare. The streets were no place for a black fellow at night, there was just too much trouble waiting for us. And she, she was foolish for being out here, too, and in such a state.

As I caught up with Everlyn, I could see fear in her eyes, fear of me. I felt big and careless, as though in my state I were being too rough, though I didn’t mean to. I had started to cause a scene. People across the street, waiting for the bus, were staring at us. “She’s got my wallet!” I wanted to yell, but couldn’t form the words.

My throat was parched from the drinks. My belly ached, my legs crumpled as though under the weight of the sun, so that I began to shake Everlyn much harder than I’d meant to. The drink, that devil, had waited until now to hit me at full force. Delirious, I held onto her wobbly shoulders for support, but she pulled away from me and I stumbled forward, dizzy, the sloping ground falling away from my feet. Looking across the street, I saw the crowd of people huddled near the bus stop benches. Wearing work suits, their faces were glistening with sweat under the streetlights. They were people waiting to go home after a long day. Open-mouthed, some pointed, and some pulled out their cell phones. Everlyn looked back at me, screaming.

 

*This story was published previously in Diagonal Proof.

 

Contributor’s Notes: Anna Eggemeyer currently reside sin St. Louis, where she completed her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Missouri – St. Louis in 2011. She has been published in Green Briar Review.