Driving through Doors

Doors open.

Doors close.

As I slide into the seat, the ice cold of the leather rubbing against the denim of my jeans and soaking through my pant leg like water through tissue paper, I pull gloves over these quivering hands and force them to push the key into the ignition and turn it; the roar and sputter of the engine is enough to tell me I have succeeded in my endeavor. Fingers curling in a tight hold around the wheel, the tip of my shoe rammed lightly against the gas pedal, I turn and drive.

I go where I must. My world is a view through a grimy window pane, painted with a simple palette of colors. Around the edges of my vision is blackness; up ahead, large orbs of white light dangle above the street, substitutes for the invisible stars in the inky dark of the sky. The mounds of white snow by the roadside pushed to the side by snowplows and oncoming traffic glitter with the fluorescent green of a traffic light that urges me forward and tells me in a neverending chant to keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. It is the only voice in this silence that I can latch onto. For I am a long way from home yet.

Doors open.

Doors close.

A hand snakes up and taps me on the shoulder. I turn to find a handful of crisp green bills, newly minted. The hand has long, well-kept fingernails painted a bright shade of red; a small ring of gold and diamond glints on her fourth finger—a woman's hand. "435 West Broad Street."

I nod as I take the money from her fingers.

"Make it snappy." Her voice has a dangerous edge to it like that of a newly sharpened knife ready for use, but she is quick to add a loving caress. "We're getting married," she says softly.

I put my foot against the gas pedal and rejoin traffic.

A second voice, a man's, speaks up: "Well, actually, Sarah, I was meaning to talk to you about that…"

Though there is very little traffic left to rejoin.

"Wait. Are you…"

For good reason, too.

"I'm sorry, I've been trying to tell you, but I just think it's not going to work out…"

Few wish to make a journey on this day.

"You're breaking up with me…"

And those who do wish they were somewhere else.

"…on Christmas…?"

I go where I must. It is rare that I like where I go or what I hear, but such is life. And at the end of the long night, when the lamps overhead are turned off and the sun begins to rise once more in a blaze of glorious reds and oranges and pinks, I pull up in front of my destination, toasty warm from the heater that has been running all through the darkness. Before I pull the key from the ignition, I like to sit there and close my eyes, imagining what awaits me inside: a rosy-cheeked little girl lying in wait to ambush me with cookies and candy canes, to tell me all the stories she's made up while I was away about Santa Claus and his evil twin and the woman I love more than anything sitting up next to her. I like to sit there and close my eyes so that when I open them again, it will be better than anything I ever imagined.

Doors open.

Doors close.


A/N: Written for the Lounge's Special Christmas Challenge.