The Montana Sky

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sometimes a good look at the sky can really untangle mixed up thoughts, especially if it's through a car window while you're driving away from home.

Submitted: March 16, 2019

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Submitted: March 16, 2019

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The Montana Sky

 

I really did wonder if she still loved me. I knew I still loved her. In the sense that I couldn’t stop once I said “forever” almost a year ago.  I loved her on that principle, but not in the same way I had. I no longer wanted to touch or kiss her, and it was clear that she no longer felt that urge either.

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If you’ve ever driven from one side of North America to the other, you will be familiar with Montana. Out of the 2056 miles it takes to get to Pipestone, Minnesota from Cartsdale, California, Montana takes up about 600 of them, and you can only focus on your radio for so long.

The wide Montana expanse yawns in front of you, opening itself up like a drooping prairie with long mountain ridges and buttes sticking up in the background. The hills almost resemble sand dunes, save for the jagged rocks which protrude from the tops like shards of glass. The same goes for its mountains, which are sloped and soft looking. Imagine the Northwest, but without the trees. Or, if you rather, imagine the barren Midwest, but decorated with Steppes and hills.

 

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She had never been as controlled as I was. She was a free spirit and wanted to stay that way.  When college started, she experienced the complete rush of freedom that comes with every new change of life. I did not. For whatever reason, it never came. I was instead flooded with a feeling of imminent responsibility.

 I remember reading some where that stuff like that had to do with my family income. I guess that could be true after all. Either way, I lost her completely. It was sad at the moment, but wasn’t anymore. I feel no regret or anger, even though I found out she lied to me about a couple things. I guess anger is just for people who can’t afford to be sad.

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The one thing you’ll notice the most though is the sky. Montana’s skyline stretches all the way around you. In other states this is always blocked by buildings, people, or mountains. Montana is different. South Dakota get’s close, but even then, it’s more like the horizon of the sea than Montana. It’s flat, and when things on earth are flat, they get bowed upward with the curve of the earth. If you climb a building and look out at the south Dakota sky, you can see farther. The same thing happens with the ocean.

Not so with Montana. The Prairie itself is concave, and it’s ringed by the fuzzy hills and jagged rocks, like a mouth is ringed by teeth. This makes the sky feel like it’s pushed up and out, like the glass of a snow globe, and the colors of the twilight horizon bleed in between the distant peaks.

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You know, now that I think about it, I don’t think I still love her. It sounds wrong in my mouth but right in my head. I surely did love who she was. I loved it all. I loved the way she looked, and the way she talked. I loved her kindness and attention, and I loved her love for me.

There! I think that must be it. Her respect for who I was had shifted. My responsibility was too limiting. My words were too long and unusual, and my ideas were no longer singular. She had loved me too, but when I became more of who I was, and she became more of who she was, we became less of each other.

So, it was true, then. I never really meant “forever”. Every time I said that I was actually saying “as long as you love me”, and that’s not fair to either of us.

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I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “riding off into the sunset.” The truth is I never really liked it that much. I understand why it’s good in movies and things like that, but in reality, only one person gets the experience of “riding off into the sunset” and that’s the person being left behind.

To them, it really does seem like the rider is vanishing into the hot red light of the setting sun. To the rider though, The blazing colors only last for a number of moments. Slowly, the evaporating orange seeps out and gives the stage to red. The red then shimmers down into the gums of the horizon’s open mouth, and pretty soon all the rider can see is the dark navy blue of the approaching dusk. Instead of vanishing, he trudges on into the blackness of the night, and slowly crawls, mile after mile, until he reaches his next somber destination.

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A similar thing happens when driving on Interstate 90 East through Montana. The person watching can only see the car quickly wind its way into the black silhouette of the mountains, while the person driving has more time to think and ponder things.  The clouds in front of the driver reflect the colors of the waning day, until all that’s left is the dark road, the feeble headlights of the car, and the slow metamorphosis of the rolling hills into the sprawling plains of the Midwest.

 


© Copyright 2019 Kelson Brewer. All rights reserved.

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