I pressed the gas pedal down deeper, and heard the engine rev harder as I shot forward, faster, down the 57.
I smirked, finding satisfaction in the small, private manifestation of power. No one was on the freeway anyway– I wasn’t a danger to anyone at this point, not even myself. And with the windows down my hair felt positively a-flame; it was wonderful. I’d feel small stings on my cheeks as strands of hair—like wildly squirming, hungry snakes— bit desperately towards my hardened, staring eyes. The smirk lingered, again empowered by the small things. The lastest chop to my hair made driving fast so much safer. So much easier. It kept the snakes at bay.
The snakes. The ones in my hair, the ones on my insides. The ones that needed feeding so often. The demons, the evils who coaxed my inner Eve to drive a little too fast, my inner Eve to find fault in Paradise.
I sighed, and lifted my foot. The odometer lowered to 70, the blond, shortened snakes on my head calmed, and my smirk fell. I didn’t want to use my energy and focus up on speeding smartly (which, by the way, is the only way one should speed if one does speed: when you’re alone in the car, on the freeway, and with intense focus). I wanted to daydream, and float. I let all my snakes float as my gaze floated up into a hazy image of another face…..
He drew his face a little farther back from the long kiss, and cocked his head to the side ever-so slightly; he looked like he was about to say something. He was one of those intense ones, who liked to hold your attention before he spoke. It was refreshing…and it was also very dramatic at times. But who was I to start prescribing so many personality traits to someone I’d only met three times before? I looked back into his eyes, though, and admired the hazel.
The brown spiraled into yellow, which spiraled into green, which hung into an abyss that—although a simple black orb— shined like a sun, illuminating his every intention. In his eyes was an excitement clear as day, as he searched and searched mine. The irony of their openness was how sure she was that he was trying so hard to not to show her he hoped for Forever. But she saw it, as she saw all his plans. She saw in his eyes the future he was trying so hard to construct in secret. She had to burn the house down before he built too many rooms, and she didn’t have much time.
This whole after-kiss stare was unexpectedly serious. But then again, when you swap that many secrets over Tinder, maybe that’s what you get yourself into. He finally opened his mouth, never breaking eye contact, and asked “What are you thinking about?”
Oh shit. I felt caught, somehow. I stared back, unblinking, and told him the truth—“I’m writing.”
“Think I’ll read it one day?”
He smiled and kissed me. I had a hunch he thought I was writing something lovely. In fact, it was all rather tragic, and I wanted him out of the room immediately.
My heart filled with stones, aware that he was writing a whole different story in his head. He thought I was writing him into the picture….when I was only etching his eyes onto my heart. How often people think those are the same thing!
No, rather, I conducted the quick mental commentary so I wouldn’t forget. So I would remember him for always. So I can move on, and learn a new life. Because once you already see how your life would be with someone….
Do you really need to play it out?
No, no. I was addicted to living, and would not be satisfied with just one. This man was great, but in his eyes he told me our entire future. It involved a lot of intense conversations, lots of hard kisses, lots of his stories, lots of beach days, lots of his careful explanations of science that fascinated me, lots of his patient listening to my whistful philosophies, lots of drunk fighting, lots of yelling, lots of longboarding, lots of Longboard beer, lots of mix CDs, lots of adventure injuries….
It was awesome.
And it was, in that crash of a moment… already lived.
And so it was Time to Move On, and time for him to find another One, too.
But that’s so hard to explain, post-kiss.
—Suddenly a honk came from behind me and I was back in the Honda Fit, sitting stopped at a green light on 17th street, about 2 minutes from home, holding up traffic. With a single honk the world pushed me out of a past life and into the present one.
“SORRY!” I hollered back, throwing up the classic “shit, by bad” gesture to nobody in-particular and bolting forward.
But the apology hung in the air, as if it was meant for more than just the cars behind me. As if it was meant for someone else,ike the ghost of a boy who’s hopeful gaze lingered still, haunting a future that he’d never get to see.