Excerpt: Crossing Roads in the Rain

A novel by Rosa Sophia

When Brooke stepped outside to have a cigarette, she smelled smoke. The wind was changing direction again. The drought had been causing wild fires; what was burning now? There were times that fires had to be started purposely in state parks. Brooke didn’t understand why, but she knew it was important for the environment. However, the recent dryness was causing unwanted fires, and the ash in the air was becoming a bother to sensitive sinuses. All of a sudden, the air in West Palm Beach was dirtier than anywhere in the country, and people prayed desperately for rain, worrying that the dryness might be predicting a bad hurricane season.

Brooke was reminded of summers in New York, when she had spent evenings out back with her friends, staring at the raging fire pit. She was suddenly overcome with an urge to find the nearest fire, and to merely watch it, stare into its depths, hoping to find what she was missing in the jumping flames. She wanted to purge herself again, to rid herself of every negative word and haphazard thought. She couldn’t. She took another drag of her cigarette, squashed the butt on the dirty sidewalk, and went back inside.

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