I remember things, but life is episodic. Memories tend to evaporate after about a half-decade, surrendering their grasp on my awareness. As a result my history is equal parts reality mixed with past hopes, expectations and should-have-dones. It’s there, but as when one wakes with the feeling of something immediately beyond the perimeter of conscious realization; a fresh void recently filled with stuff of dreams.
I remember this. Morning on 395, the sun a sudden pale yellow against a sky of pale blue, alone in my car, blood pulsing with caffeine to ward off the insistent tendrils of drowsiness urged up by the steady thrum of the road. Radio off and I’m driving in silence, alone in this desert, in this world, zipping along a flat, straight gray line connecting nowhere to nowhere, listening to the sound of wind, my sound, the sound caused by my movement, hurtling against the hushed, expectant air, listening to the whiny rush of a million molecules bouncing out of the way of my assured and uncompromising inertia.
The two-lane is empty but for the occasional truck, en route to who knows where; you don’t drive on this ribbon of interstate at 6:30 on an August morning unless you have 1200 miles to go.
From behind, approaching a behemoth of wheels and shiny metal takes several minutes; it gradually looms larger, a giant, blunt silver bullet flying towards me at an impossibly slow speed. The back end of the polished cylindrical tank is a short mirrored cone, and I watch the reflections of road, desert and sky all converging into the singularity at its tip, yellow lines on the asphalt vanishing into the center in a hypnotic strobe, road signs, brush, clouds, everything sucked in, nothing escaping, all silently compressed and snuffed out.
In the passing lane, in my ears the rush of the air’s resistance to my movement, a dark blur slowly emerges from the vanishing point and glides outward, over mercury, to the periphery of the event horizon, progress inexorable and calm, finally solidifying, in the instant before I pull parallel, into my reflected image, and there I am, escaping, escaping.