The road unfolds before me. All sunlight is this summer day, and the breeze is cool on my face, cool on the tears that are struck from my face by the wind. I look ahead and do not speak. The windshield has disappeared—somehow, the road has disappeared. I see nothing, and vaguely in me is the feeling that this is dangerous. I can’t bring myself to care. My face is flame and ice and beside me is my husband, sitting still and stolid as stone, arms folded, eyes glaring resolutely forward. I want, suddenly desperate, to be alone.
The car forges steadily on, ninety miles per hour, straight and arrow-like down the smooth black road. The wind on my face, the sun in my hair, the world rushing blind and silent past me. I want the car to weave, the tires to skid and squeal. I wish the car to flip, to crash suddenly fast and violent off the bridge and into the glimmering sea. For this dead silent world to come to life. Anything so he will turn and look at me. Anything so I can say something, something to break this tension that lies on us still and terrible as molten metal.
I want to be away from here.
And so I wish myself into Anne, into a woman of rain hovering in the clouds. I wish myself flying through mist and shadow, into the glaring sun. I wish sweet rain that falls gently down, bathing myself and this man who sees nothing, hears nothing, knows nothing of himself or me or anyone. I wish this quietly mocking puppet show to end at last. I wish…
The car slides softly into the driveway. All of a sudden, we are home. The car idles to a stop—my hand pulls the key from the ignition, a trembling white stranger. My husband punches off his seatbelt, pulls abruptly out of his seat, slams the door. I sit gently quivering in my seat, grasping for the dreams that slide ever faster from my reach.
At last, the music groans to a stop. Salt is dry and crackling on my face as I smile, pull the corners of my face into an obscene grin for no reason, no reason at all. Slowly, almost gracefully, I take my purse and step out of the car. I leave it there, door open, still lowly rumbling in the callous August sun. I want to run away.
My feet lead me to the door, but I stop. Half irrationally and half very reasonably, I don’t want to go in. I can hear the sounds of my husband inside, opening and slamming a door, throwing clothes into a suitcase and swearing as he does. What will this house be like when he is gone? Will I wander lonely through these halls, a silent ghost, no freer with a ring missing and the door unlocked?
Every time I walk through this door, I’ll remember this moment, this belated and ungraceful leaving. Every time I sip a glass of water, I’ll think of his lips on the rim.
I just want to be away from here. Take a ticket and a plane to Moscow, Houston, anywhere but here. Drive until the sun falls from the sky and the gas sputters empty, drive miles and miles away from this life. Go, go go…walk the world round. Take a rocket and shoot for Mars. Take a pill and thirty more, leave to that nebulous place called Death where he would never condescend to go. Just leave. Take a one-way ticket away from this mind, this life, these eyes that only want to close.
I walk softly in the door, up the stairs, sneak up behind him like I used to do when we were young. Just kids, naïve, far away from life and death and lack of love. On the way, I take his keys from his jacket on the wall, muffle them in my hand and slip them in my purse. His wallet too.
I light a hand on his shoulder. He turns around, eyes fierce, mouth wide and about to speak. I twist off my ring and place it in his open mouth. It closes, and I catch a hint of his confusion before I turn, flick off the light, walk softly out the door.
This house is dim. These walls, eyeless. The world is deaf and blind and night before my hand on the door, my life cracking open. The almost-autumn light sets the world on fire, throws sparks on my dress and my open face, draws tears from my eyes. I am a child again, and this world is far and wide. There is anywhere to go. Anywhere, anywhere, anywhere…
I get in the car. Twist ignition and whiz fast down the road, wind in my hair, sun on my face. Break speed limits all the way.
I have a plane to catch.