Sharon had said that it was real god damn romantic that I’d finally done it, proposed like that, with an adopt-a-road sign with her name writ large, though I couldn’t quite tell if she meant it. I felt I’d chosen a perfect piece of interstate, a long upslope where everyone trailed out of the city on the hottest days toward the cooler mountain promise and had plenty of time to read as they climbed, hoping not to stall. Inevitably cars overheated and pulled off to the side, and the rest of the traffic slowed to take in their failure, and at least in that moment, I thought, Sharon’s name and my proposal would be there to say oh yea, verily, there is still love in this overheating world.

You could choose up to ten miles of road, but I picked only four: it seemed enough to be a major undertaking yet not ostentatious enough to dominate the commute to her parents’ cabin on the lake that was once a meteor strike some hundred thousand years before, they’d said, and was now a perfect crater finned most days by jetskis and pontoon boats and people pissing into the water and the rest of the people trying to ignore the fact of the increasingly piss-filled water. Well, she said, it’s all piss-filled, isn’t it; the job of living is not to think about it too much, since it’ll para- lyze you. True, I thought, I was easily paralyzed by exactly this kind of consideration. I thought but didn’t say this is why I need you.