Terrance dangled the rotting corpse of our jack-o-lantern over the edge of the overpass. The country freeway below us was desolate, nuzzled between wheat fields. He started the countdown, “Three, two,”
“Wait,” I said, and grabbed the pumpkin.
He took a step back, grinned all toothy, and looked at me from head to toe. “you chicken, Agetha?”
I shook my head violently. “Never. Nothing scares me!” he raised his eyebrows. “She was a good jack-o-lantern. She shouldn’t go so unceremoniously,” I said.
He laughed, and leaned against the railing. “You’re full of shit. I love it.” he said.
The wind gently rustled his over sized Wesley Willis shirt, making Wesley’s giant, beaming face stare back at me look like he was breathing, like Wesley Willis was there with us. Terrance’s shoulders sloped inside his shirt, he was always slouching. Gravity pulls him down. I pushed my shoulders back like maybe I could compensate for his poor posture and his prematurely sloping spine.
“You’re a really good kid,” he said, pulling out a cigarette.
“Thanks!” I said. I was taken aback by how loudly I had just said that. I lowered my voice above a whisper. “You are too.”
“Me?” he said. He laughed, and looked down at his shoes. His smokey breath hung in the air around us. He kicked at something I couldn’t see, completely focused on his feet.
“Really,” I said. I leaned over the overpass. “I think you’re kind and I think you’re authentic.”
He looked up and smiled at me. He turned around so we were facing the same direction. It was quiet, and I turned my head so I could study his face a little- all I could see was the exaggerated curve of his spine at the neck, and those sloped shoulders. He was studying my face and my neck and shoulders too, I think. At least, that’s what his gaze suggested. Our eyes met, and we held it there.
I broke our gaze and giggled.
I picked up our jack-o-lantern, and I threw it over the overpass.