Theme VI: Vices, “Driving Without A Destination: The Escape Route”

By Carolyn Tyner

 

Each minute will actually occur 24 times each day,

which means there are in fact more than 24 hours in a day,

but to experience them, you would have to spend the whole time traveling

this means that if you and I drove from coast to coast without stopping,

we’d see 49 hours for the 46 we drive

Sure, we’d still lose 46 hours, but anytime I spend with you

Can’t be called lost

Let’s turn the music all the way up to 13,

A number as unlucky as our timing and loud enough to drown out the fact

That we met when we were driving in completely different directions,

Just a pit-stop love squeezed in between bigger life plans,

We were only stopping to get gas and snacks before our next destination,

And this unexpected intersection almost convinced us to change routes

Almost

You might think it forward of me to call it “love”

When we never said the word out loud

But I don’t think you have to say something for it to be true

I fell in love with you riding in your car,

The music fogging up the windows and my better judgment

As you told me driving was your only escape

And I told you driving was my favorite kind of therapy

I am a woman who always needs to be in control,

But you made the passenger seat look like the best place in the world

I knew when I got in the car I was making myself vulnerable,

But you made me feel safe enough to go without a seatbelt

The day you ended things, I went for a drive

Because it was the best therapy I knew,

But it only reminded me of you

You were in every song on the radio,

A ghost in my rearview mirror

A backseat driver I couldn’t get out of my head

I try not to go on long drives anymore

Sometimes I think I must be stuck in the reverse gear,

Because that’s the only way to explain why

The harder I try to drive away from you,

The bigger you seem to get

I push down on the gas until it feels like it could break,

But when I look back I see more of you than before

Maybe I was trying to get over you by running you over

In an essay I read the other day,

The writer pointed out that as long as we live,

All of the highways will never be fixed

There will always be construction somewhere,

Always a pothole needing to be filled,

Always traffic cones or barriers littering a closed lane

And I think maybe this is just what it is to be human

That I mistook you for a freshly paved road

When you were just as weathered as I was,

That you didn’t want me to see your construction,

So you put me in a left-turn only lane as your path went straight

It happened so fast I wasn’t sure where I had ended up,

But eventually I found my way back to where I was before we met

A lot of time has passed to land me back where I started,

But I don’t think our detour was lost time

I just got so used to driving without a destination

That I forgot how to stay on track

So, if you ever want to take the scenic route again,

I’ll be happy to join you in your escape

I’ll be waiting in the passenger seat.

 

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