Saturday, May 23, 2009

Is this the real life?

I was driving a coworker back from lunch one early autumn afternoon. The chill was crisp enough to kiss your cheeks to that happy blush. The sun even was relieved to not have to melt the tarmac off of the roads after the long Oklahoma summer. The traffic seemed to have avoided our end of the road in the shadow of the highway, and with our bellies full from a pleasant lunch, things felt...nice.

My coworker and I were the same age and got along well enough to always have something to talk about. I can't remember what we were exchanging thoughts on that drive back to work, but it was something smart-alecy as usual. I stopped my car when the light turned red at the intersection near the office. My Queen CD had been softly playing the whole time, like dew that silently shows up on your window without anyone noticing.

Things got quiet as my coworker and I comfortably reached the natural end of a bit of conversation. The defeat in Freddie Mercury's voice tinged the air with the last lines of 'Bohemian Rhapsody':

Nothing really matters, Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters,
Nothing really matters to me
Any way the wind blows

Out there, in front of my car, a sad little plastic bag fluttered about to the whims of the cruel autumn wind. It went up and down and sideways, with no will of its own, with a name that had long since been forgotten. Just a lonely thing that had learned to keep its eyes closed.

The music faded, the light turned green, and I drove on.

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