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Autumn (standard:other, 968 words)
Author: V.N. LeighAdded: Jun 15 2002Views/Reads: 1769/1Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Driving alone at night, and encountering the unexpected.

The black night was laden with the crispness of autumn. The cool wind
caressed my sun warmed skin with its chill and brought the season's 
scents to my nose. The clean smell of a landscape bracing itself for 
the purifying cold of winter. The smell that reminds you that life is 
all around and yet so easily grasped away. The full moon bathed the 
parking lot with enough light that the line that had always existed 
between night and day became questionable. I fumbled for my keys. 

I was alone. There were other people there, around me. People that cared
about me, that I cared about and still this lonely nagging ache deep 
down in my heart told me that I was alone. Preparing for the heartless 
winter of adulthood that loomed as coldly and ominously before me as 
the frozen, loney winter loomed dangerously close to the end of fall. 
Even in the last week of August. 

Another year. How much things had changed. I couldn't carry on a twenty
minute conversation with the girl I had confided in since I was 11. 
Somehow our two hour in depth conversations on the meaning of life and 
spirit had dwindled into polite twenty minute exchanges of, "so what 
have you been up to?" Those matters were too personal and too easily 
buried beneath the superficial matters of everyday living. Dating, 
careers, school, jobs, money had become more pressing, if less 
important, than the meaning of exsisting, the existence of a higher 
presence, and the unanswerable question, who am I? 

Who was I? I jiggled the keys in the lock. How was I going to stay awake
the whole way home? Normally I would be wide awake but lately 
something, or a lack of something, had drawn all the strength, all the 
life from every part of my body. 

I setteled my heavy form into the seat and turned on the engine. The
windshield fogged slightly. I turned on the defrost and waited as the 
fogginess was eaten away by patches of clarity. If only my muddled mind 
had a defrost, but that was ridiculous. I pulled out. 

As usual there was nothing on the radio. I flipped from channel to
channel. Never satisfied with what I had. No one was. Always wanting 
more and that was the problem. What was it that made people so 
dissatisfied? Maybe they were just as lost as I was. 

I turned down the familiar road. It was empty, silent, devoid of life.
My life. How familiar everything had become. Not the area, but my heart 
and my head. These same thoughts repeating over and over, these same 
feelings, clawing at my soul. They had become so familiar. What I had 
always thought set me apart, my quest for a deeper meaning, were just 
daily occurrences that I just skimmed over, just as my tires skimmed 
easily over the black glassy pavement. The rain laden road reflected 
the bright glare of my headlights, partially blinding me. 

I drove on. The heater breathed warm on my cold bare arms and the rain
fell in a comforting steady drone, drumming rythmically against the 
fiberglass roof. It was those kinds of things that wrapped themselves 
around you and embraced you. They were unquestionable. They put me at 
ease for a time until those unending, nagging thoughts returned. I 
thought they had finally left me, so I could live a simple happy 
existence. Instead they were only covered for a time by the outside 
distractions. They always came back. 

However, there were those times when I could toss them aside
momentarily, and live with a pleasant, care free manner. People loved 
me. So happy and light hearted. It was all a facade. A facade of 
superficiality, using what my mind considered the biggest crime to 
cover what I considered the biggest pain. Which is probably why I never 
felt comfortable as my other fun loving self. As much as the constant 
questioning caused so much internal turmoil, it was always there, and 
therefore comforting. It was a security blanket. 

I leaned my head back against the headrest. The rain droned; pointless
patters on the impenetrable roof. So comfortable, both in my life and 
in my personal, tortured discomfort. I sought comfort in my discomfort? 
No wonder my life didn't make sense. No wonder there where times when I 
questioned my very existence. 

And then it hit me, literally. I was drawn from darkness by a bright
light. It flashed across my face and startled me into conciousness as I 
watched it skim across the trees. Accompanying it was the sharp screech 
of tires on the black glass pavement. 

And then it was over. I breathed hard and placed a trembling hand across
my chest as though I thought I could reach in and prevent the unwanted 
tremors of my heart. It had been so close. My mind could have been 
silenced. I let the tears flow and I leaned my head against the wheel, 

It was simple. I was alive. I didn't need to torture myself. Time was
too short for that. I made a vow to stop sinking into myself and start 
living. I knew I would break it the minute I had another distraction, 
but for now it was my ease and my comfort. 

I eased out of the car and walked forward in the rain. A shattered
headlight lay scattered around the cars. One less thing to guide me. 

The other driver, a foul mouthed man was so preoccupied with his chrome
that he didn't notice me get out to examine the clash. It was old 
against new, shattered glass against bent chrome. Flash against a 
strangly missing light. 

I snickered and sighed and waited for someone to come help us clean up.


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