Baton Rouge to Oxford, MS, the sunset a blast of orangey-red, trees sparse against the brittle clouds, I questioned the decision to travel over the holiday. My cousin’s phone call persuaded me to take to the road, what was left of my late-father’s ’59 Chevy, all the way to the log cabin on the outskirts of Faulkner’s town where all sixteen of my cousins had been birthed. Up through hill country I drove, the olive complexion of the trees a strange contrast with the now clear sky. I took note of several oversized Confederate flags and radio station deprived, sang, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” at full bore, and moments after my voice cracked on the final note the engine made a noise like a gunshot. All I could think of as I hove the wreck to the road’s edge was how typical it would be to miss cousin Donnie’s funeral, and how sad he’d sounded on the phone when he asked me if he could confide something.
I said, “Sure.”
The line fizzled and he said, “You know, Abie, I never liked being a goddamned twin anyways.”
I sat silent at the edge of my bed when he passed this information on to me. I knew he’d not had much time for his brother, Dennie, for a long time. So, stood at the side of the 55, just west of Winona, I cried me some tears as the first Fourth of July fireworks crackled and spat into the darkening sky and the great metal heart of the Chevy breathed its last.