Lost Children Archive: A Novel by Valeria Luiselli:
I had heard echoes before, but nothing like the ones we heard that next day when we all walked out into the Burro Mountains. Near where we used to live, back in the city, there was a steep street that went down to the big brown river, and the street had a tunnel above it because on top of that street, and on top of that tunnel, there was another street going across the other way. Cities are so complicated to explain because everything is on top of everything, with no divisions. On weekends when the weather was warm, we used to ride our bikes from our apartment on Edgecombe Avenue, first up and then downhill until we reached that steep street and went under that tunnel under the other street to reach the bike path that went along the river, the four of us, each on our own bikes except you, Memphis. You sat in a child’s seat at the back of Papa’s bike. Always when we reached the tunnel, I held my breath—partly because I knew it was good luck to hold my breath, partly because under the tunnel it smelled of wet dog fur and old cardboard and pee. So I kept silent and held my breath in the tunnel. But always, every time, Pa shouted the word echo as soon as we reached the tunnel, and then Ma I think smiled at him and also shouted echo, and then you copied them and shouted echo from behind, and I loved the sound of the three short echoes bouncing off the walls of the tunnel while we came out through the other side and I finally breathed again and only then I shouted echo though there was never any reply because it was too late.
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