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Red Light in the Middle of Nowhere

Wow, this is possibly the worst I’ve been yet, although maybe not quite as bad as I was over the summer. The month of February was very up and down and all over the place so I really didn’t get anything done other than spend way too much time pondering unresolvable issues, or at least issues that could in no way be resolved through pondering.

Something I did the other day that I feel is worth mentioning: a few friends and I went to see a Jukebox the Ghost show last Saturday. It was awesome. If you don’t know Jukebox the Ghost then you absolutely must go listen to their album Live and Let Ghosts, it is 100% fantastic. Also at said show were the bands Skybox and Tally Hall, neither of which I had heard anything about before the start of their tour with JTG. Skybox’s music can be pretty much summed up in one word, awesome, and Tally Hall can be done in two, weird and awesome. If you haven’t ever listened to either of them of which the chances are pretty high then again you absolutely must go check them out. You can download Skybox’s song “In a Dream” for free from their website http://www.skyboxmusic.com. For Tally Hall I recommend listening to the entirety of their album Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum not all of which I’m in love with but as a whole I think it works pretty well.

I also have some fiction for today, I’m not really sure I like it all that much but whatever it’s something.

Red Light in the Middle of Nowhere

The automatic transmission shifted into a lower gear and the engine revved as the car accelerated up an incline. The road here writhed like a snake, cutting through the thick woods on all sides, dodging around and at times darting over hills, skirting mountains that were no longer visible in the deep blackness that shrouded the landscape. The car’s high beams penetrated the darkness, illuminating the skeletal trees, and the solitary faded yellow line that ran unevenly along the center of the at times rough road. He hadn’t seen another car pass in what felt like a very long time, though driving has a tendency to distort ones sense of such arbitrary measurements as time, and distance.

He felt very, very alone. The CD that had been playing on the car stereo before had reached its end and he hadn’t bothered to restart it or find something else. The car was silent, apart from the fluctuating, muffled growl that came from the engine. The lights on the dashboard glowed softly, the neon orange speedometer pointer wavered between 45 and 50mph, an almost dangerous speed for the windy road on which he was driving, but the speed kept him alert. It was late, and he had been up a very long time. The darkened landscape which if illuminated would have revealed little more than an expanse of forest covered mountains created an atmosphere of complete isolation that ate away at him, he felt more alone than he had in a long time.

He glanced at the person sitting in the passenger seat. She was asleep. Her chest rose and fell with a slow and steady rhythm indicative of deep sleep. While he would have loved to continue gazing at her chest, garbed in a wonderfully low cut top, he pulled his eyes back to the road. He wasn’t sure exactly when it was that she had drifted off, it had probably been at least an hour, maybe two, since a word had passed between them. She was lucky to be able to fall asleep and miss the rest of the ride. He considered being annoyed at her for abandoning him to face the darkness and silence on his own but decided he should save his annoyance for situations that more deserved it. He didn’t mind driving all that much, although sleep would be nice. It wasn’t like they would have talked much if she had been awake anyway, it had been a while since they’d had a real conversation, like the ones they used to which could go on for hours if allowed.

She never ceased to confuse him, he had long since given up making any assumptions about the nature of their relationship or how she felt about him or even at this point how he felt about her. He found it easier to just not think about it, go along with whatever seemed to be working, drive the car.

The headlights passed over a bright yellow sign at the edge of the road, warning of a traffic light ahead. That was odd, a traffic light all the way out here didn’t make much sense. Another few hundred feet or so along the road the light appeared around a bend. He could see that it was red, and began to brake. He noticed that the light was solid, not blinking like most would at this time of night, this far from anything. He stopped at the white line painted onto the road. The intersecting road was much newer, the blacktop almost seemed to shine under the glare of the high beams, he could see to either side of the intersection that two vibrant yellow lines ran along it with reflectors placed periodically. The road to either side of the intersection was tinged green by the light, while he was bathed in red. Despite it’s sleek appearance and it’s green light the new road was similarly void of travelers.

The light stayed red. He wondered who on earth had thought it would be a good idea to put this light here, it seemed like a complete waste of money. There was no necessity for a light controlling two roads that no one seemed to travel. Hell even a stop sign seemed like more than was needed. At the most a single light blinking red in one direction and yellow in another would have sufficed. What hung before him here appeared to be the works, two lights faced in each direction, every one decked out with the full three colours. The ones facing him stayed red, and still no one drove past. He thought about whether he should just run the light, he doubted there was anyone else around for miles, let alone any sort of law enforcement. He didn’t though, it had only been a minute or so, surely the light would change soon.

He let his head fall back against the seat, it was firm and uncomfortable, probably with good reason. He tilted his head to look at his passenger, still asleep, but now he noticed her begin to stir. He figured that the car having stopped and the red glow of the light were what was waking her up. A minute or so passed and she opened her eyes slightly and murmured, still half asleep, “We there?”

“No, we’re stopped at a red light.”

“Mhm,” she said without any real recognition, and seemed to go back to sleep.

Another minute or so passed, his eyes began to feel heavy, and still the light did not change.

“This is one hell of a long light.”

Her voice, sharp and clear, startled him. He turned to see that she was now sitting up, fully awake and examining the surrounding area.

“How long have you been waiting here?”

“Dunno, few minutes or so.”

“Why don’t you just run it? There’s no one around.”

“I’m sure it’ll change at any moment.”

Another minute passed, and then another.

“Okay, I’ve never encountered a light this long in my life, clearly the damn thing is broken, so just go already.”

“It’s a red light, you don’t just go,” he said, not exactly sure why he was contradicting as he had thought the exact same things himself.

“Are you fucking kidding me? Not one single person has passed by while we’ve been sitting here like idiots, what possible repercussions could there be for running this one clearly broken and entirely pointless light in the middle of nowhere? If we don’t get a move on we’ll be late.”

“If we’re late it’s because you took forever to get ready to leave, I’d said we should leave a good hour before we actually managed to make it out of the door.”

“We left perfectly on time, leaving any earlier would have been pointless.”

“Clearly not, seeing as now you’re saying we’ll be late.”

“That’s because you’re just sitting here wasting time!”

“It’s a red light, you have to account for things like this, if you leave at the last minute then any delay turns into being late, and that is no fault of mine.”

“Oh, so when I’m going to go somewhere, I should factor in the time it takes to sit at red lights in the middle of nowhere that don’t ever turn.”

“That’s hyperbolizing it a little, but yes.”

“That’s completely and utterly ridiculous. Why are you being so impossible?”

“Oh, I’m the impossible one. That’s funny, I mean that’s really just hilarious.”

“What on earth are you talking about? I’m not the one refusing to drive across an empty road.”

“I… I don’t even know. You want me to go? Fine, I’ll go.”

“Than-”

He floored the accelerator, the tires screeched on the road and the car lurched forward. He brought it up to 60mph but then a twist in the road caused him to have to brake suddenly and slow down to about 45.

“That was uncalled for,” she said without any sort of tonal inflection.

“Sorry.”

“Do you know where we are, is it much further?”

“I really don’t have a very clear idea. Probably not too far.”

They sat in an uneasy silence for the next several minutes. He turned his head slightly so that he could see her face in the corner of his vision while still being able to keep an eye on the road.

“Do you love me?”

_____________________________________

One somewhat unfortunate result of the past few months is that from now on whenever I write a story about a male character and a female character inevitably someone or probably several someones will ask me “Is this about you and…?” To answer that question, no. (This time.)


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