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  • Danny Duff

Scattered Light

We got into his not-so-white car with road snacks in hand and headed towards the shore. He was hungry the minute his hands gripped the steering wheel, but I made him save the bananas for the drive. The beach was two hours away, so we only went for our anniversary. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I watched the Spanish moss slide off the windshield and past the car. Like cobwebs hanging from the trees, Spanish moss always makes me think of death. We drove past various types of oak; he preferred the smooth live oak’s leaves and me the post oak, with leaves like tolling bells (a little rough around the edge). Evening sun illuminated the leaves’ intrinsic patterns.

“You know,” I said, “I’m no closer to describing the blue of that sky than I was when I was five.” The sky was an ever-darkening powder blue in the east, but on the western horizon there was a long puddle of orange -- like spilled juice before it gets soaked into carpet.

“The blue is just scattered light,” he said.

“Not very descriptive,” I said.

“Didn’t you pass sixth grade science?”

That’s about the time I slipped off my sneakers and put my feet on the dashboard. I rested them against the air conditioning vents, making the car smell like buttered-popcorn. It was fall, so the love bugs were mating again. They attached themselves end-to-end, unable to fly out of the way of his car. They were stuck together, and just like that, stuck to the windshield as well.

“Disgusting,” I said. He nodded in agreement and put on the wipers. The love bugs separated then, smearing across the glass.

An hour into our drive, I peeled myself a banana. He held out his hand without looking at me, so I handed it over to him and peeled myself another. He ate the entire thing in a few bited, keeping one hand on the wheel. Wet banana slopped around his mouth, some of it dropping into his lap. He cast the peel to his right.

“I want this,” he said with his mouth still full.

“You’re already eating it.”

“No, I want this.” His free hand took my own and we drove the rest of the way like that. Our car flew down the empty road as the sky ripened from blue to black. I looked to the console, where the peel has already started to turn.

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