Tunnel Vision

Terri Deno
4 min readJun 18, 2023
Photo via Pixabay

There were ripples and rifts of time I could see in the corners of my eyes. Night had descended hours ago, and I couldn’t shake off whatever poison I had treated myself to earlier, making my vision bleary and the rest of the cells in my body go into autopilot. Thankfully I remembered my boots tonight, but my scarf seemed to have gotten itself lost at some point, whether in the back of a car or the crevasse of a stranger’s couch, I couldn’t tell you.

I walked the tree line, a pseudo-secluded trail that you knew about from the first time you graciously accepted an invite to a high school senior’s party. Or if you weren’t that lucky, you figured out the trail yourself, taking your cereal box compass and a penchant for nerding out about maps to get the job done. It all still led to the same place — a clearing in a field next to an old railroad track. The place always had bonfires going, Friday through Sunday evening. And just like football, Fridays were for the high schoolers, Saturdays were for the college students, and Sundays were reserved for townies who had nothing better to do before their evening shift at the mall on Monday.

So what if I turned twenty-five last week? So what? I just spent two hours partying with kids who didn’t know what the world was really like out there. They had better stuff to pass around anyway because their parents were still unknowingly paying for it. I was in the throes of a quarter-life crisis and scoffed at all of the little babes telling me that I should just be happy to be an adult. I had been an adult for so long it was my time now to reverse-engineer my age. I was determined to be the stupidest kid the world had ever seen. Consequences? “Bring it,” I whispered to the universe.

The trees started parting, thick black lines framing the road. I tripped and caught myself on my ungloved hands, the snow stinging cold onto my palms. I try to shake it off. There’s a whole night sky twinkling with stars up above me, but I refuse to look. There was a moon up there, and it looked like a delicious iridescent distraction, and I didn’t want to see clarity in the heavens. Not tonight. I kept my tunnel vision on the lights coming from the remnants of civilization at the end of town. As the lights got brighter, I vaguely remembered that there was a Taco Bell around this place.