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Outside the picture, Easton trudged through the snow, size six bootprints imprinted behind him with every clumsy step. He climbed aboard the orange circle sled, eager to be pulled around our backyard, to be whipped around just for the hell of it. My father and I climbed aboard the quad. With a gloved hand, he stuck the key inside the ignition and gave it a twist, starting the engine. Click. My father put the four-wheeler in gear and started off, and as we pulled away the rope attached to the rear rack went taut. Behind us, Easton yelled, “Faster... faster... faster!” As we picked up speed, snow blew harder through the chinks of our jackets, numbing the exposed skin there. Our faces ballooned to a puffy red from the cold. I exhaled and a white cloud streamed from the hem of my mouth, abandoned in a trail behind us. My father shifted into fourth gear. His camo coat flapped in the wind and smacked against the open air like one end of a used bandaid come loose. I wrapped my arms tighter around my father so as not to fall off the quad, and I shifted my body, contorting it to get a view of Easton riding behind us. Easton’s sled glided over the snow gracefully, trailing in the predestined path my father set for him. Dad turned left, and Easton went right. Dad turned right, and Easton went left. Flash. From somewhere among all these lefts and rights, we ended up in our neighbor’s yard, albeit slightly. Around fall time, our neighbors had chopped down the majority of the trees in their backyard for firewood, to keep warm during the winter months. One of these forgotten and remaining tree stumps stuck out of the earth next to a garden of stones. I saw the stump, saw the stones. I thought them to be mere objects and no more, put in this world for no other reason than sustenance or beauty. They meant no harm. So I figured I didn’t have to tell my father to watch out for them and to steer clear; I issued not the faintest warning. My father’s next left turn drove Easton right, right next to the stump and rocks. The cord vibrated almost at once, reverberating back and forth as it caught the wood poking out of the ground. The rope slingshotted Easton from the sled, a sudden whiplash, and as he tumbled out he rolled over and over until coming to a complete stop. My father and I thought this to be hilarious. Oh yeah, we got Easton real good. The little man crashing, the sled tipping over— the moment hit us in bursts of drawn up laughter from deep inside our stomachs, our chests. And as soon as Easton would get up, he’d be laughing too, a smile full of snow and maybe a bit of dirt crescented in his teeth. It would make for a great picture. Snap. But as we pulled around on the quad, Easton didn’t get up. He didn’t move at all; only his clothes quivered in the wind. His outline remained splayed out in the

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BRAUN

Profile for Oakland Arts Review

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

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