Driving

Driving

In the late winter evening she passes familiar landmarks.  The traffic is thick but moving. The stores are clotted with people.  The flashes of eye-catching signs making for distraction. It is dusk now, she is moving into the country… Headed home on the long curving stretches, lost in thought, egged on by the music on the radio.  By the time she crossed the river the trees were black silhouetted by the deep blue of twilight. She flew along, in the left lane only, above the limit, tired and wistful , filled with plans. Her eyes stung with tears held back.  On the seat behind her were bags of groceries, on the floor were gas slips, parking tickets stub, dog leashes and water bowls, mail that had never been opened, bills. Every scrap of paper filled with near illegible ramblings of her prolific muddled mind.  Penned at stoplights, in carpool, and even braced on the steering wheel while headed down the highway. All left on the floorboards to be trampled underfoot. Maybe the trampling of her thoughts serves her right.  

The road runs along the throat of the mountains, for most of the way there is no house visible, not a store, nothing except the long galaxy of distant houses on the hillside beginning to shine in the dark.  She turns from the main road onto a side street. She sees houses she knows intimately without any idea who lives in them. She sees parked cars she recognizes, a wooden fence with the same rail missing, the same two dogs tied and looking lonely in the same backyard.  She is nearing home, but she doesn’t want to go, she wants to keep driving. Driving till the street lights run out, till there is nothing but country. She wants to find a pasture somewhere and lie down in the dark to scream at the stars. She wants to accuse the satellites of mimicry.  She wants to feel cold ground on her back; she wants to feel something, anything but this. She wants to breathe, she wants space unlimited. If she let go of the wheel, the car would surely take her there. She rakes her fingers through her long hair in a frustrated moment. She rubs her nose, and then wipes her eyes angrily.  The tears flow now, and she hates the tears. She wonders if she could go to the barn this late, would they detect her? Huddled in a stall somewhere, her face buried in a sympathetic mane. She craves the smell of soothing horses and calm, quiet munching; the occasional shift of weight, swish of tail, anything to soothe her. She would stay there all night if she could… Hiding like a naughty child.

But here is her turn, and she dutifully puts on her blinker.  She regrettably makes the turn for home. She steadies herself for the onslaught…whether intended or not, it will be waiting for her…it always is. 

Charlotte von Wolfle Greer