What The Highway Prefers

A short story

Published by Lackington's

What the highway prefers is young meat. Smooth skin. Limpid, hopeful eyes. Caramel-sweet thighs that the years have yet to tattoo with varicose veins or regrets. She knows this because the Long Road once called to her too, when her back wasn’t stooped with a thousand domestic tragedies.

Makcik Fatimah. Aunt Fatimah. For all of its respectfulness, she has always found the term strangely dehumanizing. Fatimah blames it on how the word strips away all vestiges of the wild-haired girl she used to be, replacing it with a careful gravitas that feels as alien as the expanding circumference of her middle. Being called makcik meant that you were expected to only want specific things, to behave a certain way, to be invisible until you were wheeled out for some lavish ceremony or other.

She loathes it.

Resentment simmers as Fatimah lumbers up the slope, knees snarling at the exercise. It’s true that people are more courteous to her these days but it’s a mechanical kindness, doled out without any actual thought. No one actually cares, she thinks viciously. Her thoughts grind together, daggered cartilage against bone, wearing her thinner and thinner until only hard edges remain.

Read the full story at Lackington's