THE ROAD (2006) is a post-apocalyptic novel by Cormac McCarthy which won the Pulitzer in 2007.
11/30/09 | Novel

The Road

by Minal Singh

I put the vampire teeth in my mouth, a Halloween leftover yanked from a book bag lying somewhere in between my right ear and two of my friends chatting. They sit on a red and white tablecloth spread over the arboretum lawn. I watch birds, more birds fly across the blue sky.

To become a man is how you become a man. Let the petal drop from your hand, smash glass.

Under an atmospheric dome, my eyes sought proof of life, a reason valid enough to provide a man-made galaxy for me and god’s other children. Bedrock, this.

The boy had trouble in his sleep with a jaw that would crack, and he ground his teeth all night.

Elegiac was that time in space when we came back to render everything exactly as it was, but as artifice—a modern firmament where I see cirrus clouds and a touch of an orange bird swoop toward the russet into another side of infinity. My left arm lay sprouting across the ground and expands, further away from my body. The body enacts both an encasement of and a vessel for prophecy.

The prodigal journey he and his father undertook along the road would strain his heart, darken his body with indifference. Any indication of resentment or joy would be lost in a cyclone of dust.

To become a man is how you become a man.

Blue sky like this and sun provide chloroform for the grass. If I hadn’t let the book fall open accidentally and if my eyes had not so briefly caught the words.

Or was it out of the corner of my waking that I surrendered? How will I be let out of the sky, be let outdoors, being outdoors? The boy said, I want you to love me. But I do love you, the father replied. But I want you to really love me. But I do, the father said.