By Parker Rouse
The light after the storm was a dull yellow-orange that had the quality of making everything looks like a trinket in a doll’s house, very carefully constructed and decorated by a craftsman for his daughter.
Look!—there was Nick’s house with the big yard of dirt and the swing set, the white paint peeling from the side of the bricks, an intricate detail.
And there was Alexander’s long driveway with a chain hanging across the entrance and a light up house number, 1954—must be the world’s smallest filament.
There was the main road with a median dividing it, planted trees with multi-colored fall leaves; the light had frozen them all in mid-flutter. You noticed you were moving fast away from home, you must be an ant running along the streets of the toy world.
There was even a shopping mall, decorated with the names of real stores, a few of the lights behind their signs flickering realistically.
There was a highway with three cars piled up against a sign, now bent over, reading Las Vegas, 250 miles. How big was this toy world, you wondered?
You came out into the desert, and the light from after the storm had transformed into the pink and red light of the sunset. Horizontal clouds swept across the horizon and dissipated so quickly it took you a moment to realize how they had been made—smoke! Father must be standing at the edge of his world, smoking a cigarette and admiring it, and the red light was the ember of his cigarette glowing as he took a drag. You would let him know how much you loved it, you thought, and thank him!
But then you realized you were mistaken. You had confused yourself for the daughter, when you were just an ant, moving swiftly through a doll’s world.