By Dylan Pearsall

We were walking down a road heading into the center of town on a foggy cold day. Our surroundings were still wet from the rain last night and the occasional puddle filled the potholes in the street. The river next to the road ran faster than usual as the excess rainwater rushed to its final destination, a lake 30 miles away. Codie walked next to me, both of us walking a little in the road because of the lack of a sidewalk.

you ever think about how hard it is to walk somewhere?” Coddie breaks the silence with one of their usual questions. Coddie hates the silence I have a habit of creating whenever we’re together. The question is of course, rhetorical, no matter, if I answer or not Coddie, will continue regardless. I, however, not for the first time today, decided to humor them.

“Confessions of a recovering engineer” I answer with a nonanswer, a book title Coddie won’t recognize. Not that it really matters how I answer, that was never the point of the question. 

“Not just walk either, go anywhere really, if you need to get anywhere of any actual use you have to drive. If you need to go somewhere, anywhere, there is never the question of how. You know you will drive before even knowing where your destination is”

“What’s the point?” I interrupt. Coddie of course will not be offended by this, they never are. If you let them ramble they will never stop, never progress, just say the same thing in different ways for hours on end. So I push, I prod, I search for the answer locked inside Coddie’s head. They will of course find the longest path towards the words they want me to hear, the words they want to think.

“The point is simple, see that house over there” Coddie points to a house over to our left as we walk by. The world comes back into focus, the feeling of my wet shoes, the sound of the river to my right. The House I’m directed to is an old one, although recently occupied. “Someone new just moved in, or maybe many someones, it’s not important. What’s important is that the people that live in that house have a life, a complex one. They will drive down this road, just as we sometimes do. They might one day try to walk, and the lack of any real walkway will make them worry about the cars passing by, and they will stop walking on this road. 

“Unless you’re making an argument for better public transportation infrastructure can we get off the road thing” Coddie does this all the time, talks about a road, a train, a person, a time of day. These topics are never what the conversation is about, not really. You’d never expect someone that can’t tell the difference between a simile and a metaphor to use so much allusion and euphemism. At this point, I’m positive the road is life, or maybe just a single person’s life. The hard part is getting Coddie to the point where we will actually talk about what they want to talk about.

“ Everyone on this street, everyone in this town, they all have their own independent and greatly complex lives. And yet almost everyone in this town from doctor to fast-food worker, single mother to a family of eleven and counting, they all drive on this road. It puts this suburbian nightmare in perspective really. Like all of us with our wildly disparate lives, all share something in common regardless. 

“We don’t drive Coddie,” I interrupt, pointing out what should only be obvious in the first place given the walking we are actively doing.

“Exactly. We are different, we don’t share that commonality with the rest of this place, we don’t do what society expects us to do. We saw this shitty road with no sidewalk and barely any room to walk on and we said, f*** it why not. We spit in the face of the normative cishet expectation of this place merely by existing. So where is our place, our people, our community to share similar experiences with.” 



We walk the rest of the way in silence.