Spelling Out Our Daydreams
We’re driving 95 when I look over and take a moment to really observe you—your face, framed by the driver’s side window against the backdrop of the night sky, your hands steady on the steering wheel, your back almost straight against the support of the seat. There’s a familiar curve in the road, suburban lights stretch out behind you as we pass, and I recognize the overhead street signs and the way the median changes. I recognize them because the first time we passed through here, on a night like tonight, many moons ago, I was afraid to look at you. I held my breath as we sped up the highway that night, too scared to look you in the eyes, too nervous to be anything but quiet, observant. You were too good to be true; I was afraid if I looked too hard, the illusion would unravel.
“Sorry you got stuck with me,” you apologized that first night as you dropped me off, half-joking, half-fishing for a compliment. Your friends had gotten busy and bailed on our plans.
“It was OK,” I conceded.
You laughed. I looked at you for what felt like the first time that evening.
“More than OK,” I added, finally. Tentative, but reassured by your smile.
Now, when I look over, and I see you smoothly driving us forward, I’m not tempted to look away. You’re still maintaining good posture (and that’s notable because you always slouch), still steady, still sure. Our speed never wavers; you know where we’re going, and you’re not in a rush.