Kylee Webb

Wide Open Spaces

That morning, Justine decided to leave her wedding ring on the bedside table. A moment passed like a kidney stone. After cleaning the house and cooking dinner, she told Ben and the boys she was heading to bible study as they watched the Chiefs game spread-eagled on the couch. They nodded without looking away from the TV.

It was her birthday. They hadn’t remembered. She found herself at a dive bar near the interstate, sipping lightly on a vodka cran. The bar had a chipped mahogany bartop, mustachioed bartender, fraying velvet furring the pool tables. Occasionally, she’d sense the unusual lightness of her left hand and then take bigger gulps of the drink. The burn ignited areas of her which she thought were previously frostbitten. She needed more than just a burn, however. Justine needed to combust. Soon enough, another drink came her way—one she didn’t ask for.

She squinted at the bartender. He shrugged his shoulders and gestured to a man sitting at the other end of the bar. This man was a stark contrast to Ben. Where Ben was rail thin and couldn’t grow facial hair, this man was hearty, had his face shrubbed with an impenetrable beard the color of autumn leaves. A trucker’s cap that said “Fish Fear Me” snugly embraced his head.

Justine wasn’t attracted to him until she beat him in pool. She loved how determined he was to win, but lost so graciously. A thought passed through her mind that maybe the lightness of her hand aided in beating him. She didn’t feel the full effect of her nakednesss until she fucked him in his semi-truck. As she pressed her weight onto him, she felt a different kind of weight sloughing off her shoulders. She tuned out the Eric Church song playing in the background, the one about young love, the one that played during her shotgun wedding, and focused on how she felt—comfortably engulfed in flames. Ben only ever crunched her against the dresser, or the wall, or the meat freezer in the garage. She never learned the truck driver’s name, but through him she felt like there was room for her, even in the cramped front seat.

Eventually, she watched him drive away into the night, the massive semi-truck shrinking to a child’s plaything as it disappeared over the hills. When she got home, she saw the boys had fallen asleep on the couch underneath the soft glow from the TV static. When she got to her room, Ben was splayed across their bed with his hand down his pants. Snoring. There was no room for her to sleep. After a beat, she decided to go for a walk. Right as her legs almost gave out, she crunched onto the gravel next to the interstate then stuck her thumb out, waited for whatever the violet horizon, the boiling sunrise, would thaw in her next.

Kylee Webb (she/her) is Editor in Chief of Last Resort Literary Review and Treehouse Literary Review. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a major in English from ASU with a double minor in Spanish and Political Science. She’s primarily interested in absurdist, surrealist, and feminist works, and enjoys the films of David Lynch, Ari Aster, Luis Buñuel, and literally any feminist director. Her work has appeared in volume three of Allegory Ridge’s Archipelago fiction anthology, Maudlin House, Tangled Locks Journal, On the Run, Fatal Flaw Literary Magazine, and will be appearing at Drunk Monkeys and Exposition Review. You can find her on twitter @KyleeNikole13.