Flowers for Towanda

by jamesmerolla

I could hear the white noise of an engine, and a cratered Pennsylvania road beneath me as I came too.  I knew exactly where I was. The moment was as familiar a memory as any I’ve ever had.

I was with Anna, and we were about to enter the town of Towanda.

It’s funny, the irrationalities we inherit after a breakup. The very reminder of something as insignificant as a small Pennsylvania town can burn your lungs, as you breathe in the shards of a broken relationship.

This was one of the last things Anna and I did together.  We were running from the wasteland that was north Jersey following Hurricane Sandy.  We were running.

She decided to give an old friend of hers who lived in Jersey City a ride back with us.

He said his mother lived in Towanda. What was Towanda but just an anonymous place I’d hear on the news?

I don’t remember a lot about that long car ride other than Anna seeming dissatisfied with everything. She laid her hand on top of mine and gently squeezed. Our hands were cold.

What I remember most was the coal soot portrait of Towanda. Its sadness made the bridge into town sag.

It had a ghostly vacant feel as if the eyes of loneliness and isolation watched us from every window. I remember it raining, though I’m sure it wasn’t.

It was the perfect town for Anna and me to bury ourselves in. Since then it has become the headstone that which I look upon when I visit the grave of our relationship.

I hate Towanda.