October in Atlanta: a rare intersection of bonfires and early sunsets against the insistence of denim shorts and naked shoulders lingering well into its maturity.
I hate driving; it’s a mutual displeasure truly. Being that the majority of my adult life has transpired in a city with notably the worst mass transit system in the world, it is a much necessary evil. I’m often regarded as a natural disaster on the road. Despite my best efforts, I have managed to find stationary poles, fellow vehicles, dangerous drive-thrus, and other unlikely auto related foes. Such, it’s a sick irony this mobile metallic carton holds the scene of a moment I let myself recall on my lowest of days.
We were traveling a little too fast, you driving, of course. Whatever was on the radio was one of those feel-good tingly songs that causes you to trace shapes in the air with your fingers despite the heat or chill. Today, though, was the type of weather pessimists even walk outside to try and loathe. It was the shit of ending scenes from bad rom-coms, the ones where the couple you spent the entire movie *pretending* you didn’t think would be together, rides off into the sunset…together. I can’t recall where we were going, but I’m certain I wasn’t directing you the most efficient route, and I feel confident you knew this. I never once lived off Pharr, and after years of living down it yourself I contest you knew nothing befell us at the end of that road but an oil change. The sunroof was down, I had my fingers switching between holding hands with 45 MPH winds floating around my Accord, and scratching the joints protruding from your right knee. You were trying your best to find this annoying, after all one of us had to take driving seriously. We were in a love-drunk silence; pleasantly, stupidly, and blissfully content in the other’s presence.
I only remember intermittent laughter, that Shane Company commercial, and your genuine gasp when at the perfect moment a tree above us released a branch full of crisp leaves into our car. We both paused and looked truly surprised as to the possibility of these events before erupting in mountainous laughter. I remember unbuckling while you persisted a cautious arm across my chest in protest.
I continued to pull myself up to investigate the nested evidence of fall’s arrival that landed atop your head. With a quizzical smirk of bewilderment, you grabbed my hands placed them on your ears to drown out the world, and pulled me towards you in the face of two four-lane roads meeting at a green light. The feeling of your hair against the texture of late October leaves, the fury of the religiously diligent crowd attempting to leave the parking lot we were blocking, the tone of the salesman so ironically attempting to command the purchase of some rock to compete with this moment, the fact that our eyes met as we hummed along this road, silently, and our laughter burst so simultaneously – like two pots with lids on the stove, this is what I cling to when I fail to remind myself of much else at the end of a day such as this. And if nothing else, I thank you for that.