Progress

by dangent

You’re at the side of the road, the new dual carriageway they built right outside your parents’ house. It’s up an embankment which is why you’re out of breath and Stu’s here too, also breathing hard. The two of you stand with your hands on the long metal bumper and look back and down.

The road has somehow shrunk your mum and dad’s house.

Piss me right off they go build a motorway outside my home! shouts Stu.

Yeah, you agree.

Weeks ago, from your bedroom window you watched the workmen boil the tarmac and pour it lava-like over the top of the concrete frame they’d spent the summer building. The ruined summer, your parents now call it.

Lorries and cars make the concrete shake. Now it even feels like a road.

You’ve brought Stu because he’s the kind of friend that makes sure you do the things you say you’re going to do. And you’ve definitely said. So now you have to do.

Vehicles hurtle by.

It doesn’t help that it’s hot.

Why are we waiting? sings Stu.

So you leap over the long metal bumper into the hard shoulder, a pitch-shifting horn announcing your arrival.

There are fewer cars in the two nearest lanes which makes the task of stepping out easy.

You do so with your arms outstretched, making yourself more visible. Then you stop, half way across, and you turn and you face whatever it is that’s coming.

You’ll show this road.

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