“Vancouver to Edmonton, 2017” – Erika Thorkelson

I wrote this piece of flash fiction about love in troubled times in response to work by artist Chelsea Rushton

wordandcolour

Chelsea Rushton_The Heart's PrayerWe’re driving back to the prairies for your niece’s wedding. Hottest day of the year and the truck’s AC is broken. The mountains are blue ghosts under a gauzy sky. On the radio, the news is bad. Riots in Venezuela, squabbling world leaders, white supremacists. Everyone wants more than they have, even if they already have everything. The air tastes like wildfires and cow manure.

My horoscope says to stay positive, but I don’t buy it. You say you have a headache and my brain sidles into worst-case scenarios—a stroke, a tumour, viral meningitis. To cheer you up, I sing show tunes, but I only know the chorus to “Good Morning” from Singin’ in the Rain.

I’m supposed to be navigating, but I never speak up in time and you never listen. I tell you to take the next exit, but you keep going straight. We have to cross…

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