Highway Dust

anja.
anja.

Elko, Nevada is home to the world’s largest dead polar bear. Apparently his name is White King – a name I’d guess they gave to him after he was slaughtered. Weird thing to do. Name something you’ve put an end to.

White King is massive, as one would imagine. He stands a whopping 10 feet in a glass case smack in the middle of Commercial Hotel and Casino.

I only know this information because I once Googled: WEIRD ROAD TRIP ATTRACTIONS and – boom – there he was. Glorious and beautiful, his ivory fur brushed out. His outstretched claws and arms that could probably kill you in an instant.

We planned to go driving all over California that one summer. We promised to stop at every fruit stand and mystery house advertised on peeling billboards. You’d let me DJ, mostly. We’d take turns at the wheel and sliding our hands into the crease underneath each other’s knees. Had we ventured outside California, you can be damn sure we’d stop in Elko. I would have read White King’s story and cried about his untimely death. You’d hug me, tell me some made up story to make me feel better. Something like, “Well, he was actually already sick and they were putting him out of his misery!” You did that, you know? You soothed even my most irrational pain.

I think about all the highways we never drove on together. It’s all dust in the back of my mind. There’s a dirt road and a car flinging gravel as it speeds off. Nothing we promised, though.

Just regrets. Just moments never fully realized. TC mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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