Journeys through the Heat
"Is this road really thirty miles an hour?"
It's not really a question as such, seeing how she knows it's thirty miles an hour; she's just trying to start a conversation and I don't really blame her. It must be at least four hours since we last spoke, and even then it was probably a passing comment on the sunset. However now it's dark and this night doesn't seem to contain anything. During the day it was so humid and by noon the clouds had completely covered the brilliant blue that made me want to drive in the morning. The heat was unbearable even with the roof down; I was tempted to take off my shirt but I've always been so ashamed of my body, no matter how much I work at it. She wanted to take hers off, but I knew that she'd never stoop so low as to actually reveal a vulnerable part of herself, especially to me.
"Maybe, I'm honestly not sure. Does it matter?"
Now of course I'm asking her a pointless question, but then life is full of pointless questions, they usually occur in equally pointless conversations. What has surprised me is that up till now we've managed to avoid even these, we have a silent agreement, I just drive and she just sits, completely indifferent to everything she sees. I can understand though why she would be indifferent, what we have been seeing for a while now have been endless hedges stretching up exactly so that nothing of worth can be seen over them. For a long time it was green hedges matched against a great grey sky. Now there's this irrepressible darkness that even the headlights can't break up, I turn on the lights and still there's nothing to see, but I doubt that there's really anything to see at all.
I look over at her and realise that she's still wearing sunglasses; she couldn't see anything in the daytime, now she must be even blinder than I am. All I can really see of her is what the dashboard lights up, her cheeks by the speedometer and her breast by the fuel monitor. It occurs to me that if I turned back now, we could be back within an hour (we've just been going round in circles really). But then what really could we do? I see three options: we collapse exhausted on the bed and sleep till noon. We somehow muster enough of our libidos together to have sex and then collapse exhausted on the bed, where we then sleep till noon (at least with this option there would be a sense of accomplishment when we wake up). The third option is the most likely; we arrive back and eat something straight from the microwave like we always end up doing. We then stare at each other in a twisted game of chicken, waiting for the other to give in and say, "I love you". Usually I say it first and I'm never quite sure why, she just looks at me with that intoxicating blankness and I think to myself that I should at least have some feeling for her. However now I can never tell what feelings are actually attached to that phrase, they're just words like any others and she knows it.
None of the three options seem desirable to me, I make a left into another winding country road.
"Why are we going nowhere? All this time, we could have at least been going somewhere."
For once she asks a question that actually has a point, and for once I actually know the answer.
"Going somewhere defeats the point of going nowhere."
And for the first time in hours she turns to face me, I know this because the light of the dashboard moves across her body so that her breast is no longer illuminated.
"There's no point in going nowhere."
"Just as there's no point in going somewhere."
From that reply she seems satisfied and turns back to her nothingness. We drive a little further until I hear a slight murmur of an overly familiar phrase.
"I love you."
And I give no reply.