My hands are sticky, sliding in sweat over the faux leather steering wheel in the stale, burnt air of my car on the highway. I turn the radio off as I pass Akron because the radio show host has a shrill and cheesy voice and too many opinions. The rattling metal cage accelerates and I press the rough pad of my foot harder into my sole, watching the dials before me spin with the self-indulgent smile of the destructive. I relish the sound of my poor little car straining under my control and the irritated faces of passengers passed. When I get to 95 I release the little foot-press and let the car rest as it slows.
I want to stay angry. I want to curse love and God; curse life most of all. I want to hate the choices that I never thought I would have to make. I want to hate the person that I never meant to be. I want to hate the enlarged and hollow heart within that let my goodness and love leak out from its thick walls like an oil spill to poison me. Yet I can’t hate the soft flesh of my sadness. I can’t hate the truth and beauty of my broken heart, flagging like the lost, shrinking, purple balloon caught in a maple’s unfeeling arms. Like its ribbon-string I let him go.
Thinking of him is like remembering the day that my baby bunny was eaten by an orange tabby. I was seven.
The little broken bones lying bloody and still were reflected in a full length mirror. Every step closer dropped another heavy rock in my belly, and as the warm fur of the cat pressed into my leg with affection, the hot ropes inside me wrote the rabbit’s name in a cramping cursive. I cried for hours, but my tear-stained face smiled wide and sang with a dimpled falseness onstage that night. I cried again at curtain.
I carry on driving through the thick traffic and wonder why there are so many people in the world and why everyone seems so weary but never wants to talk about it. When I talked to him about my weariness his gentle green eyes were crystal serving bowls of flooded peas. The ocean flowed from us in a car hot like this, on a day like this; in the same year, same month, same breath as I take now. The salt blended on our faces as I let him kiss me one last time.
I run my fingers over my paper chapped lips as I grip the steering wheel tighter and blink my swelling eyes. I light a cigarette and pull the explosive poison in waves that fill me with the blackness that I want so badly to become, as if hate would cover my sadness or bend my guilt. I think of him. I think of the bunny. I think of the play and the false ease of being someone else for a while, before warm lights and darkened faces and realize that I’ve grown. I sigh, sliding my sweaty fingers through my greasy hair and refocus on the road and the rocks clicking in my belly. I am sad. I am angry. I am honest.