Traffic

November 3, 2011

Always traffic and this damned heat.

She sat beside him, in the passenger seat, silent. She was always silent in the car.

It had been five minutes since they had last moved and he had sat there for five minutes in a strange and awkward limbo.

Though he tried not to, he couldn’t help but assess her silence.

Was she silent because she didn’t want to speak to him?

Was she silent because she was waiting for him to speak first?

Was she silent because she was thinking the same?

He sat there, frozen by his own over-analysis, wanting to speak and not wanting to both at the same time and speculating about the possible outcomes of each. Schrodinger’s car journey.

Finally, after another two or three or maybe a hundred minutes, he opened his mouth to speak. Then, feeling an overwhelming dryness like drowning but in open air, he closed his mouth again and struggled to swallow.

Now he was terrified that she might have noticed. Perhaps she was sat there now, disgusted either at his cowardice or else at his daring to break the silence between them.

He had no idea and he had to know. But he couldn’t look. His eyes were fixed on the unmoving car in front and vaguely on the long line stretching out ahead. His neck began to ache from fighting the urge to turn and his eyes almost took it upon themselves to glance across or check the mirror to see what they could see.

The longer this went on, the more unnatural it felt. The silence was normal – she was always silent in the car – but surely she’d notice his artificial stiffness eventually.

His face began to prickle, sting, burn and he was sure it must be turning red. He felt like he had to do something and at the same time, like he had to fight even harder to remain distant. It was killing him.

The car was so hot from the summer sun and his broken air-conditioner that the heat began to feel like a solid presence in the car with them, between them. It was stifling him and he felt sure it must be the same for her.

Finally, some way out ahead, he saw the line break and movement began to ripple towards him the way waves travel along a length of rope when you whip it at one end.

The car in front started to roll forward and at long last, he released the hand-brake, slowly reduced pressure on the clutch pedal and placed his other foot back on the accelerator.

The car began to vibrate and, as they moved for the first time in too long,without a word he felt her hand gently rest on his knee.

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Isaiah

November 3, 2011

Isaiah was named after a prophet. His parents had mentioned it to him once or twice and he met the occasional Jew or Christian who knew enough to ask, “Like the prophet?”
If there were any special implications or attributes to his being named after a prophet, he did not know. Iasiah knew nothing of his namesake’s story, just as the original Isaiah knew nothing of this one’s.
Other than his biblical name, Isaiah was not in anyway ‘of the book’, though he had been brought up to be morally sound; he was honest and caring, charitable and hard working. He respected those older than him or in authority and always behaved the perfect gentleman when around ladies.
Unfortunately, this didn’t grant him as much luck with the ladies as he might have thought. Apparently, those idle quotes about ‘bad guys’ were rather true. Nevertheless, he was with a lady tonight.