Like professionals who agree to disagree they said goodbye. Chicken to do it like the real adults in the real world, this seemed a perfect option. Quick and snappy. Like yanking a band-aid off.
She desperately craved to be able to reach out and feel the emotion behind it all. To hold him tight with her arms around him and tell him she didnt want to let go. That she didnt want him to let her go. Holding onto the remnants of a fine bond, she’d treasured this like a delicate flower. Preserving it carefully through all the jolts and bumps. It had given her a hope and brought a cheer onto her face, a happiness that had eluded her from as far back as she could remember.
She headed out and drove in silence, for, the next 20 minutes were precious.
As the words swam in her head, thoughts and memories spilled over misty highways. Choking on the abundance and rush of despair, she turned on the player. Music would help. CD switched and a piece of aimless started.
Tears weren’t new to her. She was used to wiping salt off her lips, but this was a nascent anguish leaving her with physical pain. It was akin to childbirth. The wrenching from within as parts of her tore away leaving behind raw fresh pain with every breath. Before she knew it, loud racking sobs filled the space around her. An alien voice . Oblivious to the surrounding as cars and vans stopped and whizzed by her intermittently, she wept as with every minute that passed it was closer to the mask. She couldn’t mourn for something she’d just killed, once she switched roles.
Tossed out. Pushed far. She sat in her corner like an urchin punished.
Holding the wheel till her palms turned white, she shot through the haze within and out.
A red light
A white 18-wheeler
A blue cop car
A few seconds of blaring sirens and flashing lights later she pulled over. A dummy, she sat waiting.
Ma’am, do you have any idea why I pulled you over?
She looked up at him and shook her head
Ma’am, are you okay?
Are you sure?
Are you feelin alright?
Have you been drinking ma’am?
Is there someone I can call?
Ma’am you were speeding. Did you know that?
A second late and you’d have rammed into the truck you see out there?
The light was red Ma’am, you should’ve slowed down.
Can I see your license Ma’am.
Please stay in your car, I will be back.
She shook and nodded her head as she felt was appropriate. Words weren’t easily coherent considering.
As she saw him leave in the rearview, she thought of his reflection in his mirror. With childish excitement he’d clicked that for her, she could tell. His eyes smiled at her through the lens, through the mirror, through the mask he wore.
Ma’am you do have a clean record. Want to explain why you were speeding and jumping a light? Is there someplace you have to get to in a hurry?
She nodded mutely. She hated her tears. She did’nt look pretty when she cried. Her voice was hoarse and she barely croaked a ‘yes’
What was that again? Ma’am
To my friend’s. He’s leaving.
Ma’am you do understand I have to ticket you.
As she enters the cacaphony and gets hit by a barrage of words, she slips into the powder room. Staring at the mirror, a pale puffed up version with a fatter nose and red eyes, the mirage speaks back :
“Hello Mrs. R, welcome home. The party’s over.”