mountains: part I

We decided to drive to the mountains. I had always wanted to go there and that was the perfect occasion for us to simply get in the car and drive there. She said, as I knew she would, that there were several better ways to travel but I ignored all of them and I ignored her decision to say them aloud: I wanted us to go by car, that is what I wanted. I wanted to see the trees running past me, to halt at will, to be able to both sit back and take charge. I knew she wanted to go by car as well, as we had talked about it several times before: she was trying to clean her conscience, to be able to say “Well, I told her we should pick another way but she was adamant that we had to go by car”: and she will. I am sure she will eventually let it all fall over my shoulders by telling anyone who asks us and anyone who might be near that it was me and never her. Her family would say “Oh darling, we get you, sometimes we do things against our will; but I hope you had a decent trip” and they would secretly but not-so-secretly think about how mean I was to make their beloved daughter do something so terrible. I always knew Cam would not have the nerve to stand up for herself like I did. I always knew, from the moment we decided to break with all tradition, that I would be alone for most of the time. But I stood beside her nevertheless, without fail and gladly and not judging for I knew all along it was going to be that way and I could not complain about something I had chosen knowingly. She sat at the driver’s seat and looked at me as if asking me not to notice she was dying to be the driver: as a gift to her I pretended she was not doing that out of desire but as a favour to me, since I have always been a rather clumsy driver. I could tell she was empowered by the steering wheel that made her so fiercely sure of herself. I wished her mother could see her like this: I wished her mother would realise that she was happy that way and that there was nothing wrong with using cars and then maybe Cam would not feel so guilty and torn about doing what she felt like doing. By the time we hit the highway the sun was at the end of its journey, hiding behind the clouds, its light weakening to make way for the moon. I missed getting out of town; we both did. As forest beings we had the hardest of times living near and inside blocks of cement and as much as we tried to find a nice place to live near parks and lots of trees and near a small river, it was not enough. It was better than most of the options we had but still not good enough and not even close to what we really needed. I saw Cam crying after having a terrible day, I saw her crying with pictures in her hands and I heard her mutter “Why must we be so stubborn, why?”: she did not see me there and so she did not know it broke my heart. I wanted to tell her to leave, to leave town and to leave me and to leave everything behind and the whole life we were living but I never had the courage to do so — I was too afraid she would accept the offer. Going to the mountains was a nice compromise, though: we would get more deeply in touch with ourselves and she would see I care about her and her needs; and by driving she would remember there were actually many things about this life that she thoroughly enjoyed.

(Carol Smnt.)


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