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10,000... - Michael Angelo Gagliardi

10,000... - Michael Angelo Gagliardi

Mixed Media

26" x 36"


We Were Young

Marie Q Rogers


Only one of us has a car—a Toyota Corolla, odometer at 9,982.3 miles. “Let’s have a 10,000 mile party!”

How many college kids can squeeze into a four passenger compact car? We leave no one behind. At each intersection, we stop. Left or right? Flip a coin. Chance takes us to the edge of town, out of the valley, up increasingly narrow roads, to those untouched by pavement.

Up the mountainside, the Toyota struggles under our weight. In the steep places, we get out to push. We climb so high a white peak appears in the mountain pass, glowing radiantly in the setting sun. Below us lies a toy village. The odometer achieves 9,997.2 miles. Gravel spins beneath the tires—9,999.6 miles! Bouncing in our seats, or on someone’s lap, we urge the Toyota on—9,999.7, 9,999.8, 9.999.9. We cheer! On the dashboard, an impatient 1 drags zeroes behind it—one, two, three, four—five! We’re at 10,000.0—stop the car!

Beside the road is a small mountain cove, just large enough for an impromptu party. We scatter to gather sticks and light a fire. From nowhere, it seems, a guitar appears. Then a bottle of Chianti. Sparks rise from the fire to the rhythm of clapping hands. The guitar spins a tune—we sing. The music begins to dance. Someone drums the side of the empty Chianti bottle.

We left pop music behind in the valley. Open air, campfire, and ancient stones call for more primal music, tunes for dancing. We jump, spin, hook elbows and do-si-do. The guitar finds a polka. Then “Hava Nagila.” We circle the fire, holding hands, and dance. Someone knows the words. After a few rounds, we all do. 

Before long, the very mountains are rejoicing.

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