Deceleration

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Amplified sound made the air seem heavy. Unattended speakers sat on the uneven paving of the street corner, sending waves of throbbing vibrations through the ground. The soft, painted golden edges of the speakers had chipped away with exposure to the atmosphere. Beneath the golden framing, the metal had twisted upwards, sharp to the touch and revealing a soft, silver underside. He ran his palm over the outside and his fingers tingled. Sound waves diffused through the black pores and became tangible. He held the sound in the air for as long as it would let him. Stephen stretched his leg out to loosen his tight-fitting jeans, just enough to fit a hand into his pocket. Counting the money in there, he hoped that $8.55 would do for a taxi ride home. A car slowly approached. In a moment that was longer than most, he became fixated on the wheels in the seconds before they stopped turning.

He thought about his brother with sobriety and familiar unease. A once platonic connection to these memories resurfaced as something more meaningful. It had been sudden, the overdose. But the clues weren’t in his daily routines as the burial preparations now were.

Without time to decide what direction the wheels had been spinning, he heard a squeaking window roll down and a sonorous voice echo across the walls of the alleyway: ‘You getting in?’ He blinked, looked up, and without a thought, picked up the speakers and carried them under his arm and into the taxi.

The reverberations followed him around for years.