Driving North

 

He was driving to work in the morning traffic rain.

The winter darkness gripped their tired souls on the road.

The cars stopped and started and everyone was in it for themselves.

A big white sign appeared between the windscreen wipers:

Ahead was the road north, and it approached as an empty turn-off;

The shoving queue of cars shunned the empty road to their left. 

Like that which drives the movement of insects as they wander the varied world,

mindlessly, an instinctual urge moved him. 

He turned the wheel and left the queue of machines

And started to drive on the road north;

The wide and empty road to the mountains and the quiet coast;

And he drove away from his life

And went north in the morning rain

With the sun over fields to his right, rising from the eastern horizon,

Lighting up the rain. 

 

He kept driving;

driving through the mountains, overtaking lorries, going over the speed limit,

and he came past a blue and lonely loch,

and he drove past that too.

And after some time he needed to stop for petrol so he entered a little village just off the main road.

He filled up the tank, took a stale croissant and an instant coffee, paid, and got back on the road with the morning maturing now and the rain off with a taste of cleanness in the air.

 

Many hours past and he passed a small city trundling along the day,

And he passed the city quickly and drove until the road deteriorated and thinned

and soon it was only a one-lane road winding through hilly moorland. 

Once he stopped to let an oncoming jeep pass, but otherwise he did not stop until the road ended at a little pier, which stretched into the bay of a silent sea-loch and pointed to the endless horizon. 

The engine fell to sleep with a sigh of relief and he stepped out the car. 

A hazy rain made cold his cheeks and ears. 

It was now the afternoon. 

There was another car on the pier and a man sat inside it reading a magazine.

He approached him and asked him if there was a boat, a ferry?

The man said yes, at seven thirty. 

He decided to wait and walked to the end of the pier and sat and dangled his legs over the lapping water. 

 

He closed his eyes and remembered. 

He realised that here too he was himself;

Here too, who he was then, he was also in this new present:   

He had brought his life along with him

When he had meant to leave it behind.