This’ll be the best way to do it, Willy Loman style, he thought as he pulled his car to the red light. Wind from the crisp December morning blew into his Azure—or was it Iris? Royal? Carolina?—blue SUV. He felt the chill through the open rear window as the N15, on its way from Lincoln to Merrick, sped by in front of him.
Shit, it’s cold, he said, raising the window. Ash fell on his slacks. Oh, fuck. Rose’ll have my ass--he lowered the rear window again, along with the driver window, too, tossing out a half smoked cigarette.
A young couple walked to the corner left of him, and waited at the light. 30’s. Young 30’s. The man—short, combed over brown hair—gently rocked a stroller back and forth as the woman spoke on her phone, her arm around his back and both smiling at whatever lay inside the rolling cradle.
Rose always pushed the stroller, he thought. Why didn’t I ever push it? He fixated on the couple, wondering what the child looked like, boy? girl?
He watched as the woman ended her phone call, rubbing her husband’s back gently as they both gleamed into the carriage. They look exhausted. Of course they’re fucking exhausted. They began walking across the street, the light still red but the walk signal showing a gray, welcoming hand.
It wasn’t so long ago, he thought, that he and Rose went for December walks, stroller in hand.
He hated the cold—and he always thought baby Tyler did, too—but Rose insisted.
A block into their walk he would forget about the cold, staring at Tyler and studying the soft wrinkles on his head, his burgeoning curls coming in strand by strand. Sometimes he’d forget Rose was even there, until she’d ask how work was going, or how his sister was feeling.
They would walk past Tyler’s school—it wasn’t yet his school, of course—and by the old church.
It was a nice church, back when his parents took him. By the time Rose and he walked past it with Tyler, low attendance and a scandal kept necessary renovations from happening. They’ll do just fine.
As he stayed at the light, a car went around him, beeping. The light had turned green, then yellow, then red once again. The car, a Tan—or was it Wheat? Sand?— Oldsmobile, had a wrinkled, gray-haired woman behind the wheel. She shot him a disappointed glance as she went around his SUV, laying on the horn with force.
He looked up at the red light, no one behind him now. This has to be the best way to do it, he thought, inching the car forward. The young couple was far down the block now. From such a distance the woman looked like Rose.
Did he ever look like that man? No, I never did.
He looked in the rear-view mirror. It had been a while since he saw his reflection so close. He lightly touched his face, the pot marks of aging, the small hairs on his nose. My eyes used to be blue, he thought.
To his right he saw the N15 coming back from Merrick Avenue. He could barely make the bus out with the corner house’s hedges in the way. Is Ronnie ever going to cut those goddamn things?
It was fast approaching.
This is the best way to do it, he thought.
He never did finish Miller’s play. Loman style. Loman style? Who the fuck says that. Like saying I’m literally run off my—his foot eased off the brake and pressed slowly towards the intersection, the light still red and the back window still open.
James Fitz Gerald is currently a Ph.D. student at Binghamton University. A New York native, he publishes both critical and fictional works. His most recent writing has appeared in The Gandy Dancer and Writing and Pedagogy.