Page 85

Toni Ann Johnson

Up That Hill Monroe, New York, 1962

Philip Arrington rounds a curve in his 1959 powder blue Chrysler and

finds himself unable to focus on the road. Walton Lake, a silver dollar in the sun, shimmers to his left. Flanked by lush woods, it’s an impressionist painting brought to life; a dream he’d like to dive into and explore. For the first time during his fifteen-minute ride from Goshen to Monroe, Phil’s eyes have stopped scouring the road for black drivers. He hoped to see at least one, but with this view it doesn’t matter anymore. If being a lone pioneer is what it costs to enjoy this small-town beauty, he’ll pay. He turns off the road onto another, passing a convenience store and a sign for Walton Lake Estates. The car chugs up a hill beneath a canopy of maple trees. He inhales country air, refreshing, even with the oppressive heat. Squinting out the window, he takes the second right, winding up a steep incline past single-story structures with decorative shutters. They seem fairly new, small—about twelve hundred square feet, and they all look alike. Probably designed by the same architect. Nearing a pale yellow house with green shutters, Phil notices a lobstercolored man with a crew cut, standing shirtless on the porch, facing the street. Two red-haired little girls run through a sprinkler in the front yard. He meets the man’s eyes as he passes. Phil nods, smiles. No response. In the side mirror, he watches the man’s eyes follow his car. Farther up, Phil slows the Chrysler to a stop under an oak tree across from a white house with black shutters. Feels like he’s driven into the mouth of a fire-breathing dragon. All four windows are open and he’s parked in the shade. With a handkerchief he dabs sweat from his forehead and upper lip. The front porch is light gray. A carpet of grass and neatly trimmed shrubs line either side of the concrete walk leading to the porch. Up ahead, the block rounds into a cul-de-sac. Two barking German 85

Xr361 final01 text  

Featuring Ralph Adamo, Simeon Berry, Thomas Bonner, Jr., Adam Clay, Denise Aretha Cunningham, James Daniels, Ronald Dorris, Edward Dupuy, E....

Xr361 final01 text  

Featuring Ralph Adamo, Simeon Berry, Thomas Bonner, Jr., Adam Clay, Denise Aretha Cunningham, James Daniels, Ronald Dorris, Edward Dupuy, E....

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