This road used to be occupied with vacant taxis and expensive cars, and tonight’s sky seemed brighter than it’s supposed to be, clear and dark but brightened by neon lights. It is a night like this that she’ll always try to fill her head with scenarios that begin with an agonized conflict and end with a vivid blissfulness. She often wishes that these stories would some day actually happen to her. A story with a happy ending. A story that would always figure out best solutions. A story where she could trust in love and romance again.
She wearily laid her back against the seat and told the driver to lower his speed. She let him know she wasn’t in a hurry, and she was willing to pay for a longer ride.
Feeling exhausted from weeks of rushing to get her work done before holidays, it’s nice to be in a slow pace for at least an hour. She leaned her head on a backseat window, looked through taxi’s stained mirror, out to the empty road, and stared at street lights competing with one another. Each pole shot its blazing beams like laser lights firing bullets at her darkened brown eyes, one by one, as if she was its only victim.
The car is moving at a very low speed, probably 50 k.m./hr. Enabling her to catch and hold onto each light for a few seconds. And for a moment, she felt weightless, powerful, and she thought how wonderfully tortured humans would be to live in a world where there’s never letting go? where she could have a magic to freeze anything she wanted to stay the same. To be forever hers.
Deeply, she knew she wouldn’t want that for herself. Too selfish to have it all. Though at her weakest moment, she desperately wished to have something to hold on. Something she never had to let go.
Pausing for red light to turn green, there’s a small woman wrapped in silence, probably same age as her, standing, patiently waiting for the right bus to take her away. At this time of night, she imagined this woman must be going home. If not, at least to where she would feel like home. Doesn’t seem to be in a hurry, but longing to be back into the arms of her loved ones. It is so evident in her eyes. They are occupied, focused and painted with hopes, she couldn’t help but stare. She could see this young woman opening her apartment’s door to the sounds of her exciting husband and small children screaming in joy to finally have their mother back.
As the taxi gently moved through green light, all she could think about was how nice it would be to have someone waiting for her to come home. She closed her eyes for a few seconds then quickly blinked her tiring lids to shake off the idea, to let go of an image of a woman waiting for the bus, and also the story she created for her. Maybe she was just going home to no one. Maybe she was just waiting for nothing at all.
Seeing familiar buildings, the ride was coming to an end, so was December. January will begin, and then a year will be added to her age. She felt an instant chill creeping inside her stomach as invisible clouds started sobbing, splashing cold drops on the road, and washing away dusts on car’s window. The night was utterly dark, there was no telling rain would come. Unexpectedly.
‘Stay for a while, will you? rainy rain,’ she thought and slowly placed her hand on the window as if she could feel the rain washing through her fingers. Come and go. Just like him. Just like me to many others. Everyone comes and goes, nonetheless she was grateful for whom she’s bonded, for what she’s owned, and for where she was at the present.
“Happy New Year Miss,” cheerfully blessed by the driver.
Sixty minutes went by as fast as she’d expected. She reached for a wallet, counted and handed grayish bills over to the driver. She softly replied, “Thank you, you too sir.” , and stepped out of the car.
Slowly, she walked to her apartment and searched for the key in her purse. As she was about to unlock the door, instead she paused for a short while and stared into a peep hole. And suddenly a story she had created for the woman awaiting for the bus fought its way back into her mind.
She softly smiled, decided to keep this beautiful story, and whispered to herself, “Happy New Year”
© Jidapa Chang-in