The cigarette lighter pops. I am on a long haul, night driving, heading out of town. I inhale as the lava hot spiral touches tip, thin paper igniting delicious; blackened edges traveling backwards in time, returning to ash. The windows are open and inviting. Warm breezes tangle my hair. I am headed someplace important, a journey I have waited for my whole life.
I turn on the radio, searching up and down the dial. Ghosts of country western music. Crackles of night game baseball. As I absently twist the chromed plastic knob the sound of something unfamiliar passes by,
a shadow slicing through the static. I dial back to tune it in.
A song unlike any I have ever heard. A symphony of grinding metal, crashing icebergs, broken glass and heavy cream. Layer upon layer of dissonance producing misplaced chords of ineffable longing that reverberate and swell to fill the dark interior; paisley vinyl seats melting into oily pools of pathos, lit to fire by moonbeams.
Black melodies cut through the soul like a hot wire; deep vibrating tones shaking loose the memories of a life unlived.
The sound liquefies, penetrating eyes and ears and mouth to consume an unspeakable sadness I hadn’t known existed. Eating my disaffection, my lonely self-isolation. Devouring the impassable borders, the self-imposed boundaries.
Echoes of echoes pounding in my chest.
And then, unexpectedly, the song changes pitch.
Time signature shifting, notes dissolving and reconfiguring into daylight, cement barriers transforming into paved freeways.
Carried aloft by the rising strains of remembering I fly out of the darkness.
The road is open and inviting.
Warm breezes tangle my hair.
I am headed someplace important.
A journey I have waited for my whole life.