Driving Home

Driving Home

I’m driving back into town and the sun is so bright it makes the air glaze over
as if swales of dust were sprinkling in from the north. Dust, I thought, dust!
I don’t know why I am so excited. I played pop-punk bands on the stereo
all the way back because the sun and sky looked no different than the glistening of summer at its peak.
I felt warm in the unheated car doing 55 in whatever the sign said five miles ago. The road has melted
and I can see its filmstrip face sleek with newborn slush. I love the sound of it curdling underneath the tires.
Receipts crinkle in my back pocket as I lull the car to a stop after 20 miles without a shift in the speedometer.
Its indicator is content, and so am I. Content with the sounds of my own summer beckoning from within
the January calendar. The bay doesn’t even look like a lake anymore but rather a memory of everything
I’ve wanted to leave in the back of my eyes, where the migraines take their vacation time, leisurely every month.
I’m driving so I never have to take my own. I’m driving so I can fall in love with places without entering
their presence symbiotically, but skirting their periphery. I’m driving so I can be the center of attention
for two seconds at nameless intersections that want to be remembered for their fast food joints or
their homegrown boutiques, something for someone to sit down at and plant a memory. I can remember
the places but not the names. My hands turn the wheel to where I parked for a movie here last week
and didn’t cry at the end. My summer was icing over then and has been blizzarding to the point of no return.
The sun looks like a bonfire of everything I needed to forget before the snow: homework, receipts, magazines,
boxes, leftover branches dwindling from this past autumn and its storms. I’ve forgotten all the songs I would play
in autumn, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to play in winter, but I can play anything without restraint,
because the snow won’t seem to go when asked. I don’t want it to go. I want to go with it to ice-capped mountains,
ice-clothed lakes, and ice-paved roads that lead to me staring into revelation in the rearview mirror,
my lungs shivering with cold, the arms of my breath hugging itself as I exhale, think about my best route home.
I want to go home without lying down upon my name. I want to be home without feeling the heater or
air conditioning on as I open the door.
I want to be my home.

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