The Swamp Road Chronicles

 

"Flying"

Dear Swamp Road Chronicles,

 

Last Fall I was driving on Route 40 approaching Hebron when I had to stop for a school bus taking kids home from school. The guy behind me ran into the back of my car, disabling it. An hour later, after the paperwork and the tow trucks were all done, I was still waiting for my wife to pick me up. I had called her to come and get me but since then my phone had gone dead. I was standing by the side of the road like a hitchhiker and growing more impatient. If I had been able to call her it would have been easier; the not knowing what was going on was frustrating.

 

The sun was beginning to set and it was getting chilly, since it was late November. I decided to walk home rather than standing around for who knew how long. I lived 4 miles away so it wasn't that bad, but it added to an unhappy day.

The shortest route home was down Swamp Road and then right on Palmer.

 

Of course, everyone around here has heard about Swamp Road Sally, but I'm a big boy and can take care of myself.

About a mile down Swamp Road I see there is a girl walking in front of me. She was about 60 feet ahead and I thought it was odd that I had not noticed her sooner. She had a long white dress on; I should have taken a clue, but I didn't. She looked perfectly normal, though walking alone in the evening on Swamp Road if you're a girl seems unwise. Sally's ghost never entered into my thoughts.

 

The girl would look back over her shoulder now and then and she would smile at me, as if teasing. I took it as an invitation to approach her and so I walked faster. But, so did she. She started to laugh softly and looking back at me she began to run, but not quickly. She put her arms straight out to her sides like a bird and leaning forward acted as though she wanted to fly. She looked back at me and waved her arms up and down, seeming to be encouraging me to do the same. I did. I put my arms out to my sides and leaned forward the way she was leaning. She ran ever so faster, I sped up too, but I could barely keep up with her.

 

Diving forward, she lifted her feet up and she was flying! Just like a bird she glided over the road. She looked back at me and, flapping her arms, encouraged me to try it too. It was a magical moment. I believed in her and in the magic of the place and the magic of the moment and I leaned forward with confidence, pulled up my feet and I too was flying!

Incredible! I had never felt so free and so alive. I realize, now, that my friend was Swamp Road Sally and I recognize the irony of learning to feel so alive because of someone so dead.

 

Looking back at me and smiling one last time, Sally sped off into the far distance and out of sight. I was so sad to see her go. I began to sink down toward the road and soon my stomach was scraping on the blacktop as my flying adventure came to an end. Though I travel on Swamp Road occasionally, I have never seen Sally again. I've never been able to fly again either, though I have tried.

 

As submitted by Brian Livezay, June 24, 2023


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