Night Drive (Poem)

The light turns green and I’m suddenly far from familiar streets. Past 2am and I light up a cigarette. The smoke billows out of the open sunroof, one hand on the wheel. When you’re trying to run from something, no road seems far enough away. No turn is sharp enough, no highway speed fast enough, no matter the distance, you end up nowhere.

My mind gets tired and I ignore the street signs, exit A leads to a replay of the other nights events. Exit B is just an unending road of decisions I lament. It’s now a quarter past 2 and I’m doing 85. I feel stripped of my pride, respect denied, all my insecurities I’m unable to hide.

Why do I always picture myself this way? Alone and feeling the wind crushing against my eardrum. I wonder if others picture themselves in solitude in their own head space, trying to figure out where they’re going or what those words “they” said meant. That one person spinning endless circles in their mind. Stuck on that one sentence they said as if cracking the code to Pandora’s box.

I hear that same tune in my head, those few notes on the piano that just so perfectly sum up the mood I’m in. As if looking off into the distance, so lost you can’t tell whether the sun is rising or setting. The rhythm of my heartbeat feels softer than normal, unaware or caring of how frozen I look. Haunted eyes of days prior, tired of trying to find the place I belong in.

It’s half past 3am, cruise control set at a steady 75 and I’m on autopilot. Oceans to my left, mountains to my right, beauty on both sides, the vast depth and scale of each slip my mind. I don’t think to look, to take a picture with my eyes, knowing my storage is at full capacity and there’s no room for moments in my rear view mirror. They’ll stay unchanged and I’ll keep driving.

Frost forms on the wiper blades, it’s below 40 degrees and I’m not missing the heat. My fingertips turn numb, icy air drying out my lungs, yet it doesn’t occur to me to mind. The only head lights illuminating the road a head. Black dust kicks up in the rear view mirror. I can’t see though it, as if a sign I can’t go back. It’s like in a dream, no matter how hard you run, you just end up two steps behind.

“Oh hunny, he never loved you”. 4am and those words break through the wind, set in stereo, echoing the first voice I’ve heard in miles. It’s my own, just tired, raspy, weak, and for the life of me I can’t think of why I suddenly chose to speak. Perhaps I could feel the tickle of insanity creeping in, the hypnosis of the highway lulling me anywhere but here.

Or maybe it was to remind me of what I’m running from, how I can’t escape the truth no matter how fast I drive or how far. In the end, he’s not coming back, but I can’t turn back to face it. So I keep following the road, wherever the wind takes me. 🍂🍁

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