We were in Linc’s car, an aging yellow Mercedes sedan, big and steady, with slippery blond seats and a deep, strumming idle. Lincoln called it Dr. Diesel. It was a Sunday night, March 22, 1987, nine-thirty. Rural Ohio was a smooth continuity of silence and darkness, except for a faintly golden seam where land met sky ahead, promising light and people and sound just beyond the tree line.
2020欧洲杯最新战况We were on our way back to Kenyon College after spring break. Linc, my best friend, was driving, his arm easy over the wheel. My boyfriend, Borden, sat behind him. I rode shotgun, a rose from Borden on my lap. Slung over my arm was a nineteen-forties taffeta ball gown I had bought for twenty dollars at a thrift shop. I was nineteen.
The conversation had dropped off. I was making plans for the dress and for my coming junior year abroad at the University of Edinburgh. My eyes strayed along the right shoulder of the road: a white mailbox, the timid glint of an abandoned pickup’s tail-light. The pavement racing under the car was gunmetal gray. We were doing fifty or so. A balled-up bag from a drive-through burger joint bumped against my ankle.
2020欧洲杯最新战况At first, he was only a suggestion of an animal, emerging from the darkness by degrees: a muzzle, a sharp left eye. Then the headlights grasped him.
2020欧洲杯最新战况He was massive, a web of antlers over his head, a heavy barrel, round haunches lifting him from the downward slope of the highway apron. Briefly, his forehooves rested on the line between the shoulder and the highway. I saw his knee bending, the hoof lifting: he was stepping into the car’s path.
In the instant that I spent waiting for the deer to roll up over the car’s hood and crash through the windshield I was aware of my body warm in the seat, Linc’s face lit by the dash, Borden breathing in the back, the cool sulfur glow of the car’s interior, the salty smell of the burger bag. I watched the deer’s knee and waited for it to straighten. I drew a sharp breath.
2020欧洲杯最新战况The bumper missed the deer’s chest by an inch, maybe two. The animal’s muzzle passed so close that I could see the swirl of hair around his nostrils. Then he was gone behind us.
2020欧洲杯最新战况I blinked at the road. My eyes caught something else. A brilliant light appeared through the top of the windshield and arced straight ahead of the car at terrific speed. It was a meteor. It burned through the rising light of the horizon and vanished in the black place above the road and below the sky.
My breath escaped in a rush. I turned toward Linc to share my amazement. He was as loose as he had been, his eyes slowly panning the road, his long body unfolding over the seat. I looked back at Borden and could just make out his face. They had seen nothing.
I was about to speak when an intense wave of nausea surged through me. The smell from the bag on the floor was suddenly sickening. I wrapped my arms over my stomach and slid down in my seat. By the time we reached campus, half an hour later, I was doubled over, burning hot, and racked with chills. Borden called the campus paramedics. They hovered in the doorway, pronounced it food poisoning, and left.
I fell asleep sitting up on my bed, leaning against Borden’s shoulder. In the morning, my stomach seethed. I walked to the dining hall and sat with Linc, unable to eat. In my history seminar, I drank from a water bottle and tried to concentrate. After class, I walked to my apartment and heated some oatmeal. I swallowed a spoonful; nausea rose in my throat and I pushed the bowl away.
In the next few days, everything I ate made my abdomen balloon. I radiated heat, and my joints and muscles felt bruised. Every day on the way to classes, I struggled a little harder to make it up the hill behind my apartment. Eventually, I began stopping halfway to rest against the trunk of a tree.
2020欧洲杯最新战况One morning, I woke to find my limbs leaden. I tried to sit up but couldn’t. I lay in bed, listening to my apartment-mates move through their morning routines. It was two hours before I could stand. On the walk to the bathroom, I had to drag my shoulder along the wall to stay upright. Linc drove me to the campus physician, who ran test after test but couldn’t find the cause of my illness. After three weeks of being stranded in my room, I had no choice but to drop out of college. I called my sister and asked if she could drive me home to Maryland.
I sat in the doorway of the apartment while Borden and Linc packed my sister’s car. As they pushed the last of my belongings into the back seat, a downpour broke over them. We pulled out, and Kenyon was lost in a falling grayness. I turned to wave to Borden and Linc, but I couldn’t see them anymore.
My mother’s house was a dignified Colonial that sat back from the road, behind a pine tree that had been mostly denuded by Hurricane Agnes and an anemic cherry tree that would soon collapse onto the den. In the back yard stood a hemlock that had been missing its upper third since my brother and I accidentally set it on fire. Inside, the house was a warren of small rooms that had suited our two-parent, four-kid, two-collie family when my parents bought it, in 1971. My father had walked out in 1977, the elder collie had died three days later, and the house had gradually emptied until my departure for Kenyon, which had left only my mother and my cat, Fangfoss.
2020欧洲杯最新战况The sun was setting as we pulled up to the back door. I walked upstairs and lay down in my childhood bedroom, which overlooked the back yard and the charred tree. The next morning, I stepped on a scale. I had lost twenty pounds. The lymph nodes on my neck and under my arms and collarbones were painfully swollen. During the day, I rattled with chills, but at night I soaked my clothes in sweat. I felt unsteady, as if the ground were swaying. My throat was inflamed and raw. A walk to the mailbox on the corner left me so tired that I had to lie down.
2020欧洲杯最新战况Sometimes I’d look at words or pictures but see only meaningless shapes. I’d stare at clocks and not understand what the positions of the hands meant. Words from different parts of a page appeared to be grouped together in bizarre sentences: “Endangered Condors Charged in Shotgun Killing.” In conversation, I’d think of one word but say something completely unrelated: “hotel” became “plankton”; “cup” came out “elastic.” I couldn’t hang on to a thought long enough to carry it through a sentence. When I tried to cross the street, the motion of the cars became so disorienting that I couldn’t move. I was at a sensory distance from the world, as if I were wrapped in clear plastic.