Momentum diverted to left lane clearing from flashing tales of unknown distress. Momentum carried on and mirrored view lessened, then dwindled among the compressed vision of gathered space I’d passed. Conscient inspiration maintained inner perspectator view of potential need to cause considered vehicle to pause in such location, such that a reason for immediate succor and/or assistance may have been engendered. My imagination ran rampant through the open fields of maybe. I thought, as I continued on, that someone will stop and … maybe the police will …perhaps a cell phone call from … but, as the divided roadway merged back to the contiguous, two-lane-each-way coziness, I left a line meant to carry my original intentions to direct completion, reworked to where I left alignment to port side indication and wheeled a crisp cross around to return back the way I’d just come. The headlights of the van remained at rest, still dangerously parked, with the rear driver’s side edged into the right lane of the road. I drove past, looked across the median and verified continued non-activity (beyond the seductive batting of the tail eye-lights as they flashed anyone who looked), continued a few hundred yards to the next posted light of motionless authority, pulled another u-turn (you turn with me on these, okay?) out of my fundamentally redirected intentions and pulled up behind the object of my concerns. I parked, disembarked, and stepped toward this mystery conveyance. The van slowly pulled away from me (“oh great,” I thought, expecting them to just drive away), straightened out and lined up along the road, fully on the shoulder, taking a worry off my own. They stopped, I continued. I approached the driver’s door with caution and, as I neared, it rolled down to reveal an older, gray haired woman. I look in and saw a younger, dark haired woman in the passenger seat, and, as I spoke to the driver, I had a peripheral sense of two more women in the back.
“Are you okay?” was my opening line.
“Yes, we’re just debating the matter of where we are going.”
“Where is that?” (I take my cues well.)
“That’s what we don’t know.” Oh. Okay. I felt somewhat akin to a straight man wishing he was rock steady. Uhhmmm…
“Do you know the address?”
The younger passenger softly said something and the drive relayed, “Laurel Road?”
I thought for a second, perusing the (always iffy) memory files, and could only come up with, “There’s a Laurel in town… but I can’t think of one out here. Sorry.”
The older woman pursed her lips in a sort of resigned smile, and replied with a sigh, “That’s okay. I think we’ll just call it a night.” And the young girl silently turned her head away toward her window, putting her cheek in the sliver of streetlamp light just as a tear trailed down into the shadows of the night. My heart went out to her unknown sorrow.
“Okay,” I responded, “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Thank you. Good night…” and her window slid up, the van pulled slowly out on to the street and I turned to walk back to my car. I got to the car as the van reached the stoplight just ahead and performed a reverse directional maneuver (are you turn dizzy?) then headed back from whence they’d come. I got in and continued on my own interrupted journey, feeling sorry for the young girl with the tear, but glad that her locationary disappointment was the only issue in their stopping. It was a nice change from my previous such encounter with a stopped vehicle, many years ago.
Now, as I write, I am arrived at my original destination, barred in by noise and locomotion, with plenty of refreshments for both. The five rectangular monitors of commercial entertainment, in staggered array across the length of the room behind the bar I am patronizing, are chilling the crowd with a hockey game. I have never been very interested in the sport, and have not watched a game since I was young. I drink my wine, I write in my book and I am finding myself watching the screen, caught up in the quick skill and athleticism of the players and interested in the action on the ice. I find that interesting.
Time to gather my Duck and hop on the Camel. There may be sand, but I won’t desert you.
(Tap you fingers and wait here. I’m writing poetry.)
Pardon the interrupted contemplation of your empty space, but I have finally completed a single stanza of my poem. Sorry it took so long, but the game is exciting, the wine is pretty good and my muse has been distracted. I think I’m on track now, but, just for fun, here’s what I have accomplished (in the continuation of a lengthy, literary effort begun two years ago):
Past clouded interstellar gas
In rainbowed cosmic spin
To fiery building blocks in which
The lives of stars begin.
Nice, but rough and tumbled are the creative connections. I have since (two days later, as I type this into the computer) edited this specific effort (and the whole of what eventually followed) and altered it, but that is not our concern at this (back to your future now) time. I have projected the direction and intentions I consider for continued poetic discourse, and am offering myself two varied options toward action. To end or not to end, that is the quotation-variation which applies to my choice. I opt for the middle road and plod slowly on toward winding down and landing, safe at home, Duck, Camel, hockey game and myself. The sports figures which vie against each other’s skills and energies are like mortal gods in the eyes of the believers who worship at the altar of professional competition.
So, while you were busy playing on the ice, I finished my poem, and a good thing, too, for the bar activity is cleaning down and winding up for the evening. A well spent evening, even at the cost of money I can’t afford to spend but did anyway. The bill for four glasses of wine (two over my usual limit, but spread out over three hours… and you hardly noticed) has yet to be addressed, but I’m sure I’ve got enough to scrape by (I have the advantage of writing about it afterward and know I do) and will chalk it up to the price of inspiration. So, everything is just ducky and I can call it a night. I will post the entire poem on one of my blogs. Here, or, if I can recall the password, over there. Quack me up. Time to go home.
Can my Camel give you a lift?