Whenever Allyson looked down as she continued along the walkway to the middle, she thought she would begin to have second thoughts. She wasn’t sure how far to the bottom it was, but it was far enough. In the daytime, the Snake River flowing through the canyon was easily visible, but hard to judge as to its precise location at the bottom. She wondered if it was the slight vertigo she got when looking down from this height.
The wind was much more forceful in the middle of the bridge. Allyson wasn’t sure if it was a good thing that it was late May and the weather was warm enough for shorts during the day, yet cool enough at night to need a jacket. If it were colder, she wouldn’t be able to hang on for very long. The steel would be freezing to the touch, and the wind would be like an icy dump truck crashing into her. That would give her less time to ponder things, less time to change her mind. As cool as it was, she knew she could probably hold on to the ledge and fend off the wind for a while.
Allyson had chosen to come at night so she wouldn’t spend too much time staring at the open space and into the black hole of nothingness below. She’d thought about it daily for the last month. With the worsening harassment online, the huge chasm between her and her mother, her inability to make any real friends in this conservative, white-dominated rural farmland, and her knowledge that no matter where she went she’d always be a nigger to anyone that didn’t have her skin color, she just couldn’t think of any alternative.
How long would she be able to put up with it before she or one of her tormentors snapped and went too far? It was more likely that she’d end up on the losing end if that ever happened. Rosie’s cousins and nephews and uncles might stick up for her, but only if shit went down in front of them. Allyson wasn’t family, and Rosie was almost not-family because of how weird she was in their eyes. She believed Rosie would throw a fit until someone in her family stepped up… and then backed away when he saw that the odds weren’t in his favor. Allyson wasn’t a martyr and didn’t want to be one. Continue reading →
L’Tasha Allyson Mosley trudged along SR50 toward the truck stop. Her arm still hurt from where her stepfather had nearly yanked it out of its socket. The sting from her mother slapping her face had faded twenty minutes ago, but the emotional sting was still raw and painful. Her mother never listened, never took her side. All she cared about was Steve, her stepfather. Steve was the most important person on the planet. Steve paid the bills. Steve was a good man and Allyson was an ungrateful little bitch. Steve was God and Allyson was shit. Lower than shit.
She kicked an empty beer can as hard as she could. The can plinked and bonked off the rocks in the barrow pit lining the road, but there was no satisfaction for her. Kicking a can didn’t fix the problems in her life. My problems are soon to be solved, she thought. Her eyes wanted to release tears again, but Allyson clenched her jaw as hard as she could and willed them away. She was done crying. That time was over.
Her feet led her off the highway and into the parking lot of the Snake Flats Oasis & Rest. She wondered if there was a more redneck place on earth than a truck stop saddling the freeway in a barren stretch of a conservative, religious state like Idaho. Her feet kicked a few pebbles and a stray plastic bottle cap as she made her way around the massive storefront. Allyson kept her head down as she approached the convenience store doors. The looks that followed her everywhere were old hat by now, but they always hurt, and she didn’t feel like dealing with it today. Her mother had warned her when she’d moved them both to Borah from Orlando that there was going to be a bit of culture shock. “A bit” was possibly the biggest understatement that Allyson had ever heard.
She was ten when they had packed up and moved in the middle of the night, escaping her real father and his fists. Maralyn, her mother, had met some guy on the internet, and he must have convinced her to bail without warning and head all the way to Idaho. Allyson had only heard of Idaho a couple times during school. It might as well have been Sweden. Except in Sweden she wouldn’t be stared at, teased, insulted, and even bullied like she had been since the day she set foot in what she called “Hillbilly North.” Continue reading →