For once I didn’t want to drive fast. I wasn’t perched on the tip of my seat, pulling in and out of lanes, around cars, paving my way through the obstacle course. I didn’t marvel at the exhilarating power I had in my palms, at my discretion, under my control. I didn’t fantasize about swerving, going off course, hitting something. I didn’t feel powerful, I didn’t feel free. I was numb. I wanted to get home safely, and soon.
Cars came fast, I let them pass me. The road curved right and I stared at the lane lines shining in my headlights, hypnotized by the bright yellow flashes and even breaks between, light and then dark and then light and then dark. Jack Johnson whispered from my speakers and air rushed in through the cracked window, enough to keep me alert but not enough to make me cold.
I had to get out of there.
I felt trapped in that little room, fully surrounded by all sorts of worthless things, closing in, threatening to suffocate me. The whole room, filled with things. Big things, small things. Every sort of thing you can imagine. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling.
I need to escape the things. They mean nothing to me. They can’t help me. They can’t help anyone. All they do is sit there and stare at you.
Here, I can think. I can feel, more clearly. Everything makes more sense.
Maybe there was a good reason. If I had stayed, maybe he would have convinced me of this, and maybe I would have forgiven him.
Maybe it would have been me, instead of her.
Maybe he would have made me happy, and maybe I would be happy now.
Maybe instead of coming up with all the past possibilities, I would have known.
Things start to get complicated when you replace what didn’t happen with what could’ve. Lines start to blur. Doubt becomes certainty.
Maybe he would have told me becomes he would have told me, if only I had stayed.
The questions start accusing.
Why didn’t I stay?
Maybe things would have been different.
Maybe they would have been exactly the same, and maybe I’d be right where I am now, but with nothing to write about.
Maybe I would go back, had I not promised myself I wouldn’t.
Maybe there was a good reason.
Maybe he would have seen me.
He might have caught my eye.
And if he did, maybe he would have known.
He might have taken me by the hand.
He might have loved me.
Maybe he would have looked away and maybe nothing would be different.
Maybe everything would be.
There are a lot of things that might have happened, had I stayed.
But I didn’t.
Safe in the confines of my dotted lines, I grip the wheel tighter.
May 12, 2011