Oyster Boy Review 02  
  March 1995
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» Levee 67


Almost There

Bridget Regan

I remember driving down Camp Horne Road, thinking about Omaha. I remember wanting to see cornfield country because of a song. I remember taking those bends, leaning into those hairpin turns on Camp Horne like I was skiing in the Tetons. I was in the Tetons. The rain beating against my car was really soft snow and I was in Omaha and I was in the Tetons and I was somewhere in the middle of America loving someone in the Tetons. And I remember passing General Custard's Food Stand and its classic car show and thinking how good and fun it would be to share that—malted milkshakes in a Cadillac convertible. And I remember crossing the yellow lines thinking I could get pulled over, and I remember crossing the yellow lines thinking I could die, and I remember crossing the yellow lines thinking aren't those lights pretty.

Camp Horne Road started right after the highway. After doing 85 on a 55 you would come to a dark hill, spiraling down to the bottom. It was a jungle there at night, no street lights and trees so thick and green they swept the paint off your car as you passed, switching sides around every bend, threatening, then sheltering. It depends, I suppose.

Certain familiar landmarks—the Mardi Gras bar, many good nights, many good nights with friends, loud and laughing, playing pool, throwing darts, watching hockey on the big screen and arguing over who's buying the next pitcher, past Sunny Jim's bar, always wanting to go in but never mustering the courage to park next to the pick-ups and Trans Ams. And then there's General Custard's. The place Moya and I would stop after a happy hour that lasted five to grab a hot dog before going to her place to shoot the shit over warm beers or cold beers or rum and tonics or the old stand-by Irish tea. Made in a dirty battered green teapot and drunk out of apartment mugs chipped and cracked and stained with tea and lipstick and heartaches.

Doing 55 on Camp Horne Road when you could only do 35 or 25. Tailing someone down that whole damn hill watching just for the breaklights. Once you passed beneath the bridge from nowhere whose steel spans appeared like a modern Gabriel, you knew you were almost there. Almost there, man. Just got to get past a few desolate homes and Mark's Tavern, where only two cars were ever parked.

But you passed it already and the ass in front of you slowed to the speed limit so the bottom comes up on you slower than you wanted. Past the Meineke where you paid in blood for a muffler job and then a red light at the bottom. Always a stop. So you do and you wait. Thinking. How are you. Where are you. Why are you. Why. Always why.

And so the light changes and you think carefully about that left into oncoming traffic that you have to make. But you make the light safely and cruise past Stop N' Go's neon thinking you already have a full pack of cigarettes. And you keep going.

And I remember making that turn up to Moya's. That song coming on. After doing 20 miles over the whole night, I slow. Waiting. Waiting for those words. Doing 10 miles an hour up the hill just to hear the words. There's things I remember, and things I forget. I miss you. I guess that I should. Three-thousand five-hundred miles away. What would you change if you could?

And then I could get out of the car. And then I could stand. And then I could face anyone. Because you could change. I remember thinking that you would change if you could.