The sun's bright, your wife's beautiful and you can still taste her lipstick from the moment you left....you turn on some Bruce and you start reminiscing about the vacation you took to Hawaii, the jacuzzi, the sunset, how it just reflected your whole life in colors you've never seen off each rolling wave.
If only you were there again. You thank some brief second you lose breath in your lungs, realizing what you've got in life. Singing some lyrics, you scream them in your mind but whisper them to your windshield because you've never been a man to express your emotions. You're too strong for that, for them. New Years is over, Christmas is gone and what's left to look forward to but another day at work, another year of inevitable existence. Maybe you'll lose a friend, maybe you'll gain another...you didn't shave and a hair just gripped your collar, so you gash at it with four nails because you deserve the pain, it lets you know your alive. The thought of anything out of your control getting the best of you is sickening yet you want something to happen because you know you'll learn from it. To become that thinker that you know you are. You punish yourself for not trying harder, for a conversation you never had that haunts you everyday since that day....the fog settles in.
You don't care that you can't see because nothing ever happens. The flowers on the tree you pass are just some dumb kid....some idiot that drove drunk. The broken divider on the bridge where wood and steel brace together what was miles of poured concrete you chalk up to a design flaw. Your headlights reflect off the gray sheet that engulfs your car like fondant....a projector lighting up a curtain you use to watch your life reel by. If there's something you've never understood it's real loss, so you can't imagine the risk in your actions....
You have control, you're confident, they weren't.
Red and yellow lights come up fast like a hard twitch that jolts your dreaming body from the chair you'd spent years making warm. The steel in front of you folds....you've seen this before...you were trying to fit the cake box from your son's birthday into the recycle bin. Red velvet, there was some squishing out the side when you applied pressure. You ask yourself how cake could've gotten into your eyes as you stare at your shaking hands. Coming to, you sense what happened and feel like laughing because there's nothing you could've done, you couldn't foresee this, but you've asked for it so many times. Wondering if you'll die you wait until the mat is fully soaked beneath the shoes you've shined so many times. You begin to cry just thinking of the light that creeps in the one blind that's missing from your window, and how that light used to look like a scar down the belly of your wife...how you wish her skin was at your fingertips, at your lips forever. To feel its warmth and the goosebumps it'd get having been exposed....you wanted it now more than ever because you'll never have it again. Your crooked rear view mirror shifted to you, the bloody mess that you've become....far different than those men not deserving the fate you've received.... the person who worked two jobs everyday but fell asleep at the wheel and hit that tree, or the man who hydroplaned in a downpour over the bridge when trying to pick up his daughter at her friend's. You'd written off these men, as the world has now done the same to you, except the world's right about you. You realize this is your life, no one else's, and you had control. You had as much to do with it as anyone else driving that night. Who were you to judge. People had died before you because they too had momentum....they too were men making decisions. Yours though were based on radical invincibility. On logic misconstrued by arrogance your father had on phone conversations you'd overheard and took as legitimate ways to conduct ones self.
You hadn't bit your lip but you now taste your own blood. The logic of cause and response no longer means anything. You apologize for being so immature, for that time you fought with her because you were jealous and insecure but wouldn't admit it...for that time you passed by the homeless woman on the street and spit between your teeth blaming her for her position. You apologize for ever asking for this, for ever wishing you were gone so you could see how much people actually loved you. The selfish reasons one wishes for death are what you thought would finally make you full and happy, except now it's the tucking in of your family that you wish you could do until the day you die...seeing their shadow and smelling their hair....sitting and watching the sheets go up and down....imagining what their dreams would be that night and what they had to look forward to in life....the hardships, the struggle, the lessons.
Sitting in the car smelling the burnt rubber and flesh of your arm, the passenger airbag explodes. You don't flinch, smile or laugh, just stare and say out loud to hear your own words.... "now that's a design flaw."
As the brakes screech loudly once again you're replaying the accident in your mind except this time the back windshield disintegrates like mist from the hairspray bottle you used before the prom. You think how great of a time you had dancing as your head lunges forward, resting your chin on her shoulder you start counting your steps from that day out loud....the cold sensation coming down your neck though is new to this memory. It reminds you of your mother washing the back of your hair the time you had lice....how she'd do anything for you. You wish you could call her and tell her thanks, tell her how much you love her. Your breathing is so short that maybe it's the wind getting knocked out of you like that time the waves crashed so hard on you and your dad holding hands trying to ride the white wash into shore. The only thing that made it to sand that day were those smiles and screams of joy for your life was exactly what it should be. You remember seeing those glimpses, those reflections held in time and played back over that ocean's sunset in Hawaii. You realize you had noticed it after all, you'd appreciated it more than you ever thought......the meaning of your life. You hadn't missed its true purpose at all, you had it all along....and so you can now let go.... knowing, smiling....... for the lesson you always knew would come....finally had.