With the wind in my hair, she thought. She never thought she’d ever get the chance to drive, let alone afford to buy, a convertible. But here she was, driving down the countryside on a summer day with the music on blast and the wind in her hair. She reached out a hand only to enhance the effect of it all. This was perfect, more than she could have wished for. She was on a journey towards an uncertain future, but she didn’t care… because sometimes the journey means more than the destination.
She stopped at a roadside fast food restaurant and ordered a meal. She took it outside and saw a family of four had also taken a break from their journey. The boy was running around trying to chase down a bird who actually seemed to be teasing him. The girl was a bit older, sitting grumpily and directing whatever anger she had towards her fries. The parents were busy studying their route. She took a deep breath and let it out with closed eyes. She felt blissful. She wanted this journey to never end.
It was dark when she arrived at the hotel. She went into her room and smiled. This was the first time in life she’d had a hotel room all by herself. She landed on the bed and stared at the ceiling, thinking that if her plans didn’t turn out as she thought they would… she still wouldn’t be sad. She couldn’t – this day had been far too good.
When she woke up, she got ready. This was it. Now was her chance to prove how beautiful she truly was. She pulled out the dress she had bought solely for this occasion, a light pink one with white flowers and vines. She curled the bottoms of her hair, put some light make up on and spent half an hour picking out the perfect jewellery to match today. Then she looked at the mirror and gave her reflection the brightest smile she could. It wasn’t hard, yesterday’s magic had flowed through to today. She put on her high heels, took her purse and headed out.
She spent a while picking out the perfect music for this small yet vital journey and drove out from the parking lot.
By the time the doors of the elevator had opened, her palms were slippery and her fast heartbeats had made her slightly dizzy. She tried to take deep breaths, but her body wouldn’t listen. She hurried to the door, unable to handle the excitement any longer, and rang the doorbell. Her eyes were still closed when he opened the door. When she opened them, she saw straight into those deep brown eyes. It was eery how deep they were, as if there was more to this person than anybody could ever grasp.
He was… shocked, she realized with dread. He fumbled with the words but let her in. She went inside to his bright room with the big windows and modern furniture and sat herself on the couch. He came and sat in front of her, unable to find the right words. She explained everything to him, and all the while he was sitting there with his deep eyes… where a sort of devastation seemed to be growing, she thought.
After she was done, he lowered his head, put his elbows on his knees and buried those deep eyes inside his hands. He said that he understood that she wanted to surprise him, but that she should have called first. The rest of his words felt as rocket missiles all targeted towards her. The realization of the situation settled too quickly in her mind. She started to tremble and her heart seemed to be strangling her chest from the inside. She went up and took a few steps towards him only to fall back into the couch again. She couldn’t move. She felt like all walls and floors disappeared from around her, and that something very dark kept her levitating in an empty space. Nothing was in her control anymore, she was the victim of whatever it was that was holding her. He went up and approached her slowly, put an arm around her shoulder. His arm felt wrong somehow, stiff, so she slowly moved away. She took a deep breath and went up again, this time trying not to think so that her legs would at least carry her as far as the door. He called for her, wanted to grasp her arm maybe, she sensed. But he didn’t. He just sat there, while she opened the door and half ran towards the elevator. No, she thought, the stairs. She would have run down the stairs hadn’t she been wearing such high heels.
Was she in any condition to drive? She didn’t know. She didn’t care. She just needed to get out of this place as fast as possible. She drove around for an hour and found a lake. She sat on the bench, closed her eyes and hoped the sun would somehow magically heal her. She pulled up her knees and hugged them, closing her eyes so that no more tears would find their way out. She tried to take deep breaths, but the sobs came involuntarily. She really didn’t have any control.
Then she remembered what she had promised herself yesterday. She snorted at the thought, refused it and explained to her self that yesterday she had been naïve. But a part of her refused to accept that, and stubbornly kept shooting her with bullets of guilt. Owing something to herself always felt far worse than owing something to somebody else. She dried her tears and thought of possibilities. She forced a smile and returned to her car. The sun, the wind, the music… everything was there to help her, but they meant nothing unless she wanted to be helped. So she embraced them, and drove off into the horizon.