You could bet on it, the way west marked with rising roads as if the Rocky Mountains pulled up the landscape and your vision, the bonnet and Conestoga and Platte wheel-worn leading you through Kearney into Cheyenne.
You could bet on it, the way east marked with all the ups and downs of hills, the way your life had gone scored by rivers of ecstasy and depression tending in another direction.
At least the way west was one straight climb with the chin pulled up and head held high, breathing labored but no longer difficult. And what if you stayed in Nebraska?
What if you kept looking west to the peaks snowcapped and pure and looking to the east at plains and terrain vibrant and complicated but stayed in the middle, suspended in doubt and anticipation, like a tightrope walker who crosses a few feet and then returns not only to the gasp of the crowd but to the gasp of his own throbbing heart?
Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, and works in manufacturing. He has work in or forthcoming in Rhino, Dandelion Farm Review, Sixfold, and Thrice Fiction. He won the 2011 SuRaa short fiction award.