001.

Apr. 21st, 2010 01:17 pm
foolmoonshining: (Default)
[if anyone wants this under a cut, just let me know]


Tuesday, between 3 and 4 PM
stream of consciousness


I'm driving home from the library. The library I belong to is two towns over, because my town is so small it doesn't warrant one (though it does warrant two fire houses). It takes me between ten and fifteen minutes and between six and ten traffic lights to get there, depending on traffic and the route I take. There are a surprising number of variations for such a short distance.

I went to the library in the first place because a) my unwatched copy of Doctor Who season one (the one with Christopher Eccleston, not the one from 1919 or whatever) was on hold and someone probably much more deserving than myself was waiting for it, and b) my grandmother was at my house. I love my grandmother, of course, but I didn't leave to avoid her―I left because she took over looking after my mother for me. I live at home because I procrastinate so badly it has cost me a job two years in a row, so when Mom had her gall bladder out a week and a day ago, one of the tasks delegated to me was to make sure she didn't do anything to rip her stitches while Dad is at work. (Not that she is a child, and not that she has stitches either; they super-glued her shut, and she is fifty-six.) Regardless, both my father and I have been very wary to leave her alone, although she insists she's fine. He doesn't mind taking care of her, but he is a saint among men. I am far, far away from a saint; I gave up any glimmer of eternal life through miracles I may have had when I curled up shivering on my couch the day the World Trade Center collapse and denounced God in a very quiet, adolescent way. Even if He loved me, I thought, I did not want to love Him. He was not worth loving; I only have so much love to give and I would rather waste it on someone who can tell me if they've chosen to waste their love on me, too. I was sixteen then.

I am twenty-five now. I still don't believe in God, but I still capitalize His name.

I passed the quarter-century mark one month, two weeks, and one day ago. I have had my license for five years, eight months, and eleven days, and it is currently sitting in my back pocket, legalizing my drive home from the library. I decided a moment ago to take the back way to get to the main road that will take me to another main road that will eventually get me home, because they changed the traffic pattern at one of the traffic lights a few weeks ago and I would rather not deal with turning left and then getting in the right lane. So I chose to drive down Gaymore Road.

If I was less mature and more ignorant, if I was sixteen again and New York's former tallest buildings did not lay in ruins, I might have laughed at the name Gaymore. Nervously, tittering, hoping no one else saw me. Especially my mother, especially because I have been half-convinced since I was nineteen (when I passed my road test on the second try), that she had hidden cameras installed in my car (previously her car, though it is registered in my father's name), and that she spies on me, sees the stupid facial expressions I make as I work out fictional conversations between fictional people, or between fictional ideas of real people, or between real people and myself (to save myself embarrassment due to saying something off the cuff later on, it helps if I've rehearsed beforehand). This is preposterous, of course―to say my mother is technologically inept is to say the sky is a very pale shade of blue-tinted white―but it always worries me when I confess secrets or mimic sexual acts. (The latter only happens when I'm alone on the road, when no one can possibly glimpse me in their rearview mirror, and plants me even more firmly with the sinners.)

Gaymore Road is a bit different from the road my library is on, one block south. Across the street from the library is an apartment complex, and down the road a little are a dentist's office and a halfway house for disabled adults. Gaymore, and the road that branch off it, are sparsely suburban. The houses are small, and not exactly in disrepair, but not exactly spotless either. Except for the one that a man (or a woman, or a family, I never bothered to find out) runs a limousine rental company out of.* Exposed Cracking cement driveways support ancient muscle cars with missing bumpers. Middle-sized Jeeps and two-door sedans litter the curbside. A massive, incongruous pick-up truck is parked in such a way that it takes up half the road. There is no car coming the other way. I gently swerve around it.

Halfway between the right turn that gets me on to Gaymore Road and the right turn that will get me off, around a curve that closely my maneuver to avoid the monstrous flatbed, a vehicle―a(n)** SUV is stopped, and the driver is talking to three people: two women and a man, all round, all over forty, all as pale as if their ancestors hailed from the middle of Europe, and none have spent a day in the sun since the year I was born. Or perhaps the conversation is just with the one woman, the one with her purse slung over her shoulder. She is standing in the road, which contains the same color as her salt-and-pepper hair, and the other two are standing on the brown-and-green grass. They see me coming, and disband their meeting, so I don't have to steer around them. The SUV disappears around another bend in the road. I try to thank the two women and the one man, but they have started walking away, presumably to a car parked behind me. I almost get upset that it might be the pick-up I avoided, and if I had waited another moment I would have avoided all these delays and gotten back to my partially-invalid mother a few seconds earlier, but then I realize stoplights would probably have taken care of that anyway. I stop at a stop sign, and turn right onto Clifton Place.

A suped-up sports car with spoilers sticking high up in the air is idling on the other side of the road. It is jet black, and facing the wrong direction (that is, the direction my car is going). On the other side of this car, a few feet from the nose of it, is a young woman holding the wrist of a small boy. Their skin is a few shades darker than mine, a shade I could never achieve if I spent all summer on the beach, or an hour a day in a tanning salon. They are a sharp contrast to the three forty-somethings who stopped traffic momentarily, though due to his short legs, their pace is about the same. She is starting to cross the road, gently nudging the boy with a step to her right, until a car turns left at the intersection ahead, and swings into the lane opposite mine. She steps back to the left, holding on tightly to the boy's arm, and the spark of disaster is squashed entirely. He toddles on, unaware. I wonder, briefly, why she is not holding his hand. I was always told as a small child: hold hands when you cross the street. Perhaps they were in a hurry and she did not have time to tell him this. Perhaps she did not know him, or did not know him well, and try as she might, could not get him to hold hands. Perhaps he had misbehaved earlier, off stage from this mini-drama I am witnessing, and this was his punishment. Or perhaps this was just how things were: Boy idly watched the patterns in the pavement while Woman (or Mother or Aunt or Sister or...) held on to his wrist, tightly, for fear that he might one day come out of his trance and dart across the road, alone, and she did not want to find out what happens next.

I pass the woman and the small boy and their odd joining at his wrist. At the aforementioned intersection, I stop, then turn onto Cherub Lane. They pass out of sight, and I am suddenly thinking of angels and whether they are real and whether they have anything to do with God. Eight stoplights to go until home, and it only takes two to decide it's not worth pursuing this train of thought, because it doesn't matter if God loves us as long as there is someone to hold our hand (or our wrist) and spare us what happens next. One more, and I've almost completely forgotten.


*I am aware this sentence ends in a preposition. I am sure there is a better way to say what I'm trying to say, but I don't like how it sounds in my head otherwise. My head is a strange place, though, so maybe I am just a fool.

**I never know whether I use “a” or “an” before an abbreviation. I normally do it how I would say it, but I've been told this is incorrect.

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