It is currently 79 degrees in Elba, NY and the 2010 census says 2,370 people live there. Elba is the northern most village in Genesee County, a sparsely populated, largely agricultural county of less than 60,000 people. In elementary school they taught us that genesee is a Seneca word meaning “beautiful valley”. It is currently 95% white in Genesee County, so it is safe to assume that no one gives a shit about the Seneca.
The first time I met my new apartment mates in Wilmington, NC, I told one of them that I really only drank milk, beer, and bourbon. For his part, he didn’t tell me he had fucked my fiancé. No, I wouldn’t find that out until one night, long into the final hours of that failed relationship, more than drunk and leaning on a wet bar rail, when another friend let that secret out. I confronted my fiancé, broke down sobbing like people do when anger is not an option.
Cities and towns I had never seen passed beyond the windows of the car, all of the exit names meaningless to me. We could have been going anywhere, not even the direction could provide an orientation. There is no way I could have navigated this space on my own. Outside the weather grew more humid and the sun seemed to give a more intense heat because of it. In the foreground the pine trees along the roadside blurred to green as the radiator began to hiss.