The Memory

Billy got hit by a truck, he says.

He thinks, a truck hit Billy, but he doesn’t say anything. The other is still speaking in slow, backwoods twangs and drawls.

Boy, do I remember that day. We were standing on one side of the road, by the school entrance. Billy was on the other side. He saw us and got this big grin. One of them big-ass coal trucks was hauling ass toward us, but Billy started running across the road. It was all so fast, I didn’t even have time to shout or think. The truck driver slammed on his brakes. The tires locked up in screaming smoke, and the brakes were grinding and squealing in what seemed like forever. I swear to God, I saw Billy turn and look at the truck at the last second, like he’d just realized it was there. Then the truck took Billy down the road.

His shoe flew off. I saw it fly away, like a damn bird. It landed off the side of the road. Then the truck was stopped, and it was all quiet for, I don’t know, it seemed like forever, but it wasn’t. Then someone shouted, Billy, and we all started running for the truck.

His blue eyes get still and wide, staring far off across time and space. Man, I remember that day like it was yesterday, he says.

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