Thursday 27 Oct 2016

There is a Light
Ricardo Teixeira

I feel as fascinated as a moth while double blue lights temporarily blind me. I feel so drawn unto them. It does not matter how many cars go by me, or how fast they’re going. Every new encounter is deathly seductive. With each passing light, I go a little faster. Each time the meter goes up a notch my thirst for blood and hot twisted metal gets a little more unbearable. She, my angel, my shadow in the back seat, bends over and puts her arms around me. She whispers, “Go faster.”

Everywhere, there are lights from big cars, bought at 20% interest rates. They are family models for model families coming home from a weekend in the countryside. I do not have to see all the way inside to know that holy families are inside.

The husband is surely driving. He features a yuppie hairdo and the kind of casual clothing you do not wear unless you are trying to be casual while remaining formal. He never looks to his little woman wife, except by the corner of his eye, for driving is a serious matter, one that must be gripped with both hands. Besides, he has had enough of looking at her glasses, her messed up hair and her figure less than perfect due to childbirth and an overwhelming sense of the worthlessness of looking good.

The children, they come in the back. They are singing annoying songs and messing with each other’s videogames. They are the middle class bourgeois PlayStation generation. Their taste for life is rotting, eaten by careful loans and secure investments, their perfectly planned life. They are my martyrs. My angel sees them too. She tightens the embrace, and dispels her order from within those lipstick stained lips: “turn around.”

With a swift move and a smile of contempt, I turn the car around in my lane. As quickly as that, I’m on the other side of the tracks. Headlights now come directly in front of me. A beautiful symphony of horns and shouts starts. Cars coming in my direction start to dangerously move out of the road leaving rubber stains on the asphalt and a the pungent odour of burnt rubber fills the air. Everything is happening very fast.

It is tragically ironic to find a red sign telling me I’m going the wrong way. It’s just exists, somewhere on the road for some reason I don’t understand. It’s there shouting me that I’m doing a horrible mistake. That it’s other people who are right, not me. I have no doubt that my path is the path of good, because no good comes from following in the same direction as family models for model families. Even if it drives me towards death, blood and hot twisted metal. My angel laughs on the back seat, happy with my decision. She feels alive. No one feels life as much as when he or she is about to lose their life.

My angel leaps into the front seat and kisses me. I no longer see the headlights from the family vehicles, those vehicles I never want to drive. Even if I must crash into one to guarantee I won’t. I’m running out of time, and time doesn’t wait around for me to savor it. Her kiss sucks my lips and my senses become sharpen. They mix. Suddenly horns are red and signs smell like rubber. Blood tastes like asphalt and cars look loud. I feel like a newborn, experiencing the world for the first time as I’m about to leave it. My angel says, “I love you,” and my world fits back into shape.

Maybe another day, when this light goes out and my world becomes darkness. When headlights are all I see, then I will prefer blood and hot twisted metal to 20% interest rates. Now, I do not need to make a choice. She is the light that moves me and makes me live. She is the edge where I have set ground, overlooking both the abyss of conventional life and of no life at all. That is where my home is. I leave the road and stop the car. I tell her I love her too. I love her in a way never seen in a family car.

Inspired by “The Smiths,” “There is a Light that Never Goes Out.”

By day, Dr. Ricardo Teixeira is an environmental engineer, who dabbles in neuroscience. Through chilly Lisbon nights, he writes fiction then stored in dusty, dark drawers to await the light of day.

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