Her face, normally lit up with whim and fantasy and a baseline of lightheartedness, was drawn and closed.
Eyes focused on the blank middle distance, lids open but no data was being transmitted from the orbs to the brain.
It was a worrisome sight.

Resting a large hand on her thigh, he contemplated her sudden sadness. Any other person might dismiss the strange silence pouring out from her being but he immediately noticed the change. Quietly he watched her as she twisted the steering wheel in its sturdy column to the left and right in a practiced dance with the road, her autopilot light blinking.

“Where are you...?”

...but his query remained trapped on his tongue. His fingers tapped on her naked flesh, trying to grab a glance from her, and it worked...she turned and flashed that fake smile of hers, the one that stands out in such contrast from her usual smile that it was almost painful to behold. She was lost in thought alright. Absent. She’d return, he knew.
She always did, and with just as much energetic vigor as always.

“Doesn’t stop it from hurting.”


I wish there was a way to speak these sentences, in real time words created by mouth and lips and tongue. I wish I could show you that I see these moments from every angle, from mine and yours and the third-person narrator I’ve conjured up. That when I have fallen temporarily from behind the wheel... that I am so extremely aware, of everything, analytical of each feeling that I’m having and each feeling that my feelings make you feel and I get so paralyzed by the weight of all of the topics that need starting, all of the moments that contribute to this temporary sadness that needs explaining... It crushes down on my shoulders and squashes all of the light and humor out of me. I have no laughter to spare, no appreciation for the absurdity of anything. It is a stark feeling of sudden alertness and comprehension of the sadness that lies in wait for each person on this planet, and I feel it all at once.

How can I explain the sudden rush of love and empathy I feel for people I don’t know?
How can I explain the lingering residue of love and empathy I feel for people I used to know?

It is not an appropriate thing.


“Roll your window down.”

The words leave his lips with a hopefulness that reaches her, wherever she is, deep inside of her thoughts.
She rolls her window down and he instructs her to take her hand and feel the rushing air.

“Feel the wind around your fingers...how you can grab it but yet you can’t.”


If only you could understand how fitting and perfect your words are. I grab it all, and yet it slips by me.
In this moment I am looking at the road, and my hand, and your face all at once. My autopilot is finely tuned and we cruise a steady two miles above speed limit even when the speed limit changes. My hand moves fluidly through the cool breeze that lingers after the summer storms, the ones that leave every afternoon windy. Your face...

Your face. I watch your face as you gaze so intently at me from the passenger seat. I wish for once I could let you drive but my knuckles grip the wheel so tightly that a crowbar would be necessary to prize them away. I want to abandon the road and dive into your arms, I want to shrink so tiny I could wrap around your neck and sleep for a thousand years. I want to forget about all of the other faces and voices crowding my mind and hear only yours, see only yours.

I want to go home, but I feel so far. Your tapping fingers might as well be your voice loudly calling me,
telling me to come home. I know. I feel it. I hear you, though it’s windy out, I hear you.

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