Cinthia Lozano and Amanda Miska

Inspiration Piece by Amanda Miska
Response Piece by Cinthia Lozano

New Heaven
by Amanda Miska

Bare branches hang in silhouette against a violent violet-orange sky. They speed toward the horizon, no real destination in mind. They are 22 and everything is urgent: they are always starving, never just hungry. It’s always the best thing ever, never just good. Forty-two ounce slushies, salt vinegar potato chips, old country music, painted toenails on the dashboard, tanned hand hanging carelessly out the open window. This moment.

Years later, she will be surprised when she forgets his name. Nostalgia will seep into everything she does, an invisible ink, retelling lines of the story at odd moments. While she is folding warm towels, kissing her son goodnight, flossing her teeth, she will remember those perfect days as a mosaic of places and smells and sounds. But she has long forgotten that boy, the consonants and vowels that formed on her tongue to call him to her.

She’s given herself over to the familiarity of long-term love, the selflessness of child rearing, the joys of an ordinary life: a glass of Riesling, dark chocolate squares melting on her tongue, her husband’s classic rock albums, tired arches in need of a good massage, a small hand wrapped around her index finger.

Age brings a different kind of urgency, like the way the eye takes in every single visual detail before the eyelid falls into deep sleep. Everything, everything is perfect. Right now.