I got in a pretty bad car accident with a yellow car on the 101 the other day. It all happened so fast, and yet was all over in an instant.
I’m okay, I just haven’t fully-recovered yet.
Let me recount.
Is it terrible that part of me wouldn’t mind dying this way? I chuckled to myself, maybe too lightly considering the morbidity of the thought. But I was light as a feather, hunched over the steering wheel and my pink pocket journal, scrawling feverishly while attempting to keep my eyes glued to the car ahead of me as I drove along the 101.
But how could the thought of death scare me right then? I’d just fallen in love. I was invincible.
The car next to me honked. I looked over and saw a wrinkled Mexican woman in the passenger seat of a mini van laughing and shaking her head at me. I shrugged and let another small laugh escape…alright, fine.
I nodded, not sure if it was to her, to myself, or the two pages spread out across the wheel. With all the self-control I could muster, I closed the journal around the pen and set it onto my own passenger seat with a loud sigh. I suppose I’d be mad to let writing kill me.
My lightheartedness was twirling with the heater, impervious to the dense fog that beat at the car windows. But I just fell in love, Mini Van Woman! C’mon, cut a young girl some slack. I sunk into my driver’s seat and reflexively glanced up at the rear-view mirror. I didn’t smile at my reflection; my reflection had already been waiting for me, smiling to itself. Every fiber of my body needed a pen. I needed a sound other than laughter. I’d only been speaking in laughs and sighs for this whole Ordeal anyway…. I needed words. I needed to map this weird experience out. And while I might have been driving straight (even when I was writing, thank you very much) I was an unsafe driver. I was spilling my heart all along the freeway; I was crushing all over the place.
What a perfect, quick romance…. Before I even knew what I was doing, I was throwing on my right blinker and flying across the lanes to the soonest exit.
Fine, I’ll pull over and do this.
So— hazard lights on and undoubtedly making myself another half-an-hour late to my LA appointment—I scribbled:
“WRITE, EVEN WHEN DRIVING.
Dear Mystery Traveler—
Correction: Dear Mystery DUDE with Lots of ArmTattoos And A Kind Face Who Was Driving A Yellow Truck Which, When You Finally Passed Me, Had “Traveler” Written on the Bumper–
I’m not sure how we flirted through traffic without looking at each other…
Or how we danced through traffic that didn’t move…
Or how we only saw each other for 5 seconds at a time…
Or how we communicated in only laughs and small glances…
Thank you for the lovely entertainment. I forgot how much I liked games that had nothing to do with wit. I forgot how much fun I have when I feel like there’s nothing to prove. I forgot that other people are capable of ‘letting go’ at the same time as I am.
And I realized how thrilling it is to go happily into something and knowing it will end. I learned a lot from our stretched out, agonizingly slow and mut rendez-vous, mister Traveler, sir Stranger.
It was a lovely, quick romance. A fantastic roadway friendship. I love your tattoos.
The 2015 Honda Fit Girl
It was the quickest letter I’ve ever written, and I’ve written a fair few in my day. I hardly lingered with it either; for the first time, this one was just for me.
Which got me thinking— In a way, aren’t all the letters we write… already letters written to ourselves?
And the company of this thought sat in my passenger seat the whole rest of the drive, musing softly about our past words for others, and quietly admiring the way that the traffic mysteriously lifted with the fog to reveal a burning sunset. Like desire, the thought whispered. Please shut up I chuckled back.
But the hopeless romantic in me kept swooning at the red setting sun… and I continued to listen, despite myself.