I’m on the highway watching lines. Maybe I flash the left turn signal to pass, watch the needle rise up to 120, sometimes more than 130. There’s nothing. Not even the ground rolling back from the tire grip. It’s just three screens and three mirrors, spend most of the time looking in the rearview. What has the rolling of rubber on wet asphalt got to do with life reflections? Perhaps it’s the monotony, the welcoming dread of straight dashed lines; but most of all, it’s the memories they bring up, the flashes of white lines and the two lights getting too close in the rearview.
A song reminded me of memories too, Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric. What part of it did that? Perhaps the emotions of Stranger than Fiction, or the unreachable soar of passion two lovers share, not just in that movie, but everywhere, on this Earth, where people meet and say goodbye. And this overarching passion permeates through the blank space of my thoughts, the emptiness of my time. It shakes the minute hand of the clock, and my soul stirs with its spinning, round and round, the needle pin pointing at all the numbers but mine.
Perhaps driving for five hours is not enough. I wish there to be the cracking of the sky, like that of past July, when tears of cowardice could crash against the metal casing of the car. Now they just freeze there, frozen in time. Every drop of ice stiffens my heart a little. That’s what long drives do, they stiffen time.
But without time there is no movement, no flow of passion between two lovers. When they whisper to each other in the dark, time is what carries their breath through the air like the sweetest evening breeze. Her breath brushes across his skin like the wind on evening grass, carrying up the exhausted perfume of the day. Their eyes, part of natural creation, probe each other’s with such intent; and you wonder when has something so natural given you such attention, such warm welcome? When she lifts her cheeks to crinkle her eyes, I am lifted, taken into her summer night where there is forever the kisses of midnight tea.
But it’s up in the trees I cannot reach, washed away by tears of the willow tree. I cling to the trunk as the summer sky splits, the rain knocks on wood, drops tap on leaves. Maybe I am crying, but I am standing under a willow tree under a crying summer sky. No matter how hard I squeeze, I will never get to the center of that willow tree. I thought I was squeezing out all its water, until I realize I might be squeezing out mine. So forever I will sit, at the foot of the willow tree, waiting for water to come; the leaves shelter me at first, then drop everything on me.
My foot is off the gas pedal now. I turned on auto speed control.
This road is not the one to happiness. Else there’d be more traffic. It is more of a stifling freedom. A vast openness all around and yet we crouch behind explosions in a metal box. When I sit up straight I do not know what is carrying me. My foot off the gas, I press against the floorboard; perhaps I’m pushing myself forward. But the car is motionless; all it is is a screen with flashing visual stimuli. The only difference from a simulation is that I could die here.
It is not the freedom that is stifling, but rather I, who tell myself that there is something called freedom, that I am being stifled. That I am telling myself. Being too quiet means more listening than talking. And now, that becomes hazardous when the speaker is my insidious mind. All the talks of not possibles, all the words that spur on spurious desires, all of that I listen with shameful innocence; whether they scream in my mind or what, they punish me. In the freedom of the world I could love a girl; I could make another heart of glass to be broken; she could turn glass into ice and make my heart cry. But in my stifling of happiness I do none of that. Words become whispers become thoughts forgotten.
And here I sit in a Montréal hotel room, closed in by walls on the left front right, typing these words; because all those fragments of sadness can sparkle like stars, when I don’t see the blinding light of happiness.