A Drive

Driving home from Maryland the week before Thanksgiving is nerve wracking, frustrating, and infuriating. If there is a moon, it’s hidden by cloud-cover. And the only things that look like stars are actually the lights on the top of radio towers. 

The few streetlights that exist are stuttering out a weird morse code that translates to “I have a fault in my wiring. Please help.” But they are not my responsibility. And I cannot help them regardless. 

The street is illuminated by headlights and tail lights and the occasional painting of blue and red from a police car on the side of the road. I have been watching as cars weave and forget that the 18 wheelers can’t actually see them hiding next to them. I’ve seen too many close calls as people forget that physics tells us that two items cannot exist in the same place and time. Or maybe they’re just pure scientists and want hard data more than theories.

Or perhaps they’re experiencing time slips as alternate timelines coalesce and merge making it possible that they didn’t see the car there. The car that in another lifetime they crashed into, stopping the traffic dead and ruining multiple lives. 

There is a frozen turkey in my trunk and a crumpled styrofoam cup that held warm cider a few minutes ago.

The internet radio is pumping out dark blues and rock that’s going through an emo phase. It’s filled with murder ballads and broken hearts that spiraled into anger rather than sadness. There’s sinners and vigilantes and a world of stories that want to be told. 

My brain spins with stories and characters. An old character I haven’t really thought of outside of porting into fanfiction because I didn’t think he was actually viable. I think that’s wrong. He and his wife and his child and his adoptive father who thinks he’s a vampire. And who knows, in a different story he might be, but for now, he’s just a nightclub owner who never gave up the goth phase and agreed to let his son get enamel fangs when he was a teenager because he never heard of appropriate limits. 

And stories or scenes from works in progress. 

Anything to not be tensingly anxious about being surrounded on all sides by cars that want to be going much faster than they are and following closely enough that a stunt driver would be cautioning them that they need more safety gear if they’re going to do that. 

I swallow my cursing when a car almost cuts off my front bumper because they’ll get a whole car-length ahead if they cut me off. I slow down to have at least a minimal ability to stop when the next idiot tries to commit suicide and take me with them. 

I take the express lane and feel my shoulders loosen, even as I have a pang of white-girl with a good salary guilt. I revel in the privilege of not being surrounded and feel as though I can breathe again as I barrel down the expensive drive. Is it worth the money to pay for it? Once I would have snorted and told you no. Now, though, now, I am okay with paying to drive and wishing social distance meant cars as well as people. 

It’s dark and the music is throbbing and maybe, if I weren’t navigating through a minefield of other vehicles, if I were instead rolling through a deserted desert moonscape, or abandoned city streets, I might even enjoy it. 

If you enjoyed this, please buy me a cup of ko-fi.

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