By Mark Souza
Sean gazed out the windshield at a low ceiling of winter clouds sagging over an ocean of dead corn. The flaxen and gray landscape of straight lines and right angles repeated mile after relentless mile creating an uneasy feeling of déjà vu. The car hummed on cruise control over a strip of asphalt slicing a furrow across the bleak Kansas landscape. Ahead, the road seemed to narrow until it disappeared at the horizon. Sean remembered a term from perspective drawing for where all lines converged at infinity. They called it the vanishing point.
He looked over as Janet pushed her hair back, hooking it behind her ears to keep it out of her face while she read. Her blue eyes wove back and forth across the page, her expression changing as the words conjured images in her head. Sometimes she even laughed aloud. Her mind resided in a different place, a better place. Maybe the sun shone in her world. Maybe there were hills and trees. Meanwhile, Sean dealt with the numbing monotony of the Great Plains. It hardly seemed fair.
“What’s the State tree of Kansas?” Sean asked. Janet looked up, but before she could answer, he blurted, “A telephone pole.”
“Ha-ha,” she mocked. She dog-eared the page and set the book in her lap. “That stopped being funny a hundred miles ago. But go ahead. Get it out of your system now, because it sure won’t play with my folks.”