Wind was blowing in via the passenger door window and the sun shone down across the dash in waves. It didn’t dazzle me, I was too preoccupied with the opportunity to continue conversing in something that qualified as standard communication. Hedgerows of the brightest green rolled past outside the car, and I watched them run past. Nature’s own very beautiful Doppler effect.
My knees were a little too present, I hadn’t realised just how long it had been since I’d given them due attention. All being said, I was most comfortable. I could have been five again, on a run to Portrush for the day, everything intensely bold, delightful and exciting. A memory to file strictly towards the front of the library.
Whilst I usually converged on the back seat for a trip which involved ice-cream, dinner or some other equally positive event – I was all the same feeling once more like a child. The doors had handles, but without any real attempt (though sick with curiosity) to check I knew they would not operate for me.
I’d just passed the border into Desertmartin when reality began to take hold.
My driver was three years my junior, pleasant and enjoyed the mountain air. Humans are odd creatures, egos roaming freely inside their heads twenty four/seven, though occasionally released to torment the other ungodly forms that the universal energies reflect into their control rooms. It wasn’t hard to stay pleasant. All was well.
These shapes had a lot in common with me. For one, they’d be spending the bulk of their Saturday on the road, not in one location – though I had plans upon landing at my desired destination to find a chair and mould it with all my strength into a bastion of serenity. They had arms, heads, mouths and the ability to speak. I was entranced. People good of nature are hard to come by, and I knew I was travelling away and not towards the majority of the ones I knew of.
Suddenly ideas started screaming and swooping around me, colours flicked into my vision – I wished the poor bastards driving could see them. It probably was for the best they didn’t. I grabbed for a pen, for paper, before realising that now was not the time. Quickly I changed the subject to sport and leaned back as I listened to the crowded buzz of the mountainside fading behind me.
All was lost to me. I had to keep cool.
Extravagant politeness was my only real weapon at hand to stop the two bounty hunters in the front seat from becoming aware of the beast roaring in the seat beside me. I fed it a song and with one strong swipe it almost took my arm off. I had to think fast. Extreme measures. But what? Soothing discussion would have been perfect, but no one wants to look back and see someone with pearly knees poking through ripped jeans and a combat hat chatting into the silence. Not with a smile like mine. Jesus. No, that would have been wrong. I didn’t need a mirror to know that there would have been something inhuman meeting the eyes of these two good people.
They didn’t need that, haunting them for the day. Or maybe only seconds before being forgotten. Who knows how much they really cared? Maybe they were like me. Inhospitable emotional holes from which there is no escape. I’d given up trying to rationally quantify my internal morality. Probably my fingers were unable to count it out because it wasn’t there. It would certainly explain why I was in the back of this car trying desperately to figure out at which point the patterns in the chaos had converged on me once more. There was no explaining it. Though I was fixed on one moment, one choice…
Distance in the end saved me. My elbows were allowed to touch the sunshine as I was let from the car with a tip of my hat and a fair assessment of the situation. They asked if I would be alright. I thought it a very strange thing to ask. I wanted to exchange with them my knowledge of solar flares and neutrinos, of entropy. I wanted to tell them that I worried about them more than perhaps they realised.
They’d be fine, they were about to put miles between us – have dinner and live long and happy lives. If the chaos lets them.
I took stock of the situation whilst breathing in the fine country air. It was good to stand up. Dancing was an option, but I’d save it as a prize on safe arrival at my domain.
Pre-season had started, but I didn’t yet know what game I was playing. Should have read the contract. There was no need to dive in. Maybe it was water based? Competition of the strong, or perhaps a game of wits?
Peace consumed me.
I’d learn the rules soon enough.