People ask me if I’m happy, and I think I am. There’s a song I listen to sometimes, and it makes me feel like a king. Like I should tear off this face and scream; like the whole world is going on, ignorant that I am here. And just for a second they realise. Or I realise.
I’m stuck in traffic heading home. Next to me is a fat kid in the back seat of one of those big four wheel drives. He’s been eating McDonalds and is hanging his sister’s doll out the window, its hair jammed into the frame by the glass.
I used to wonder who it was at the front of traffic jams. As though there had to be one person at the very front who was holding everyone up. Would it ever be me? And when that day came, what would I do? Would I cripple and turn off, to let someone else lead? Would I slow, so that no one else had a chance to pass and would have no doubt about who was the leader?
Or would I speed and pull everyone along? But then, if I was to shoot out too far ahead, there would be no one around – I would no longer be the leader.
I was the leader of the traffic I think, once. I was travelling a little further than everyone else. They turned off, but I kept going. And soon, I was the leader. But of what? There was no traffic, and there were no cars.
When I was at school we had to write a poem about nature. Everybody wrote about the sun and the sky, or birds. One kid wrote about a wombat. I wrote one about clouds; about a man who was stuck under a cloud and so everything always looked dark – and everything ahead of him was bright, and everything behind him was bright. So that he always wanted to be somewhere else. I read it to my friends and we though it was funny – a guy stuck under a cloud. The teacher liked it; I got two stars, or whatever you got back then. But now I understand the funny look she gave me.
I’m still next to the car with the fat kid and his sister is realising her doll is gone. The mother’s looking out the window and rubbing her brow like she’s trying to get paint off her skin or something. The father in the driver’s seat is looking straight ahead, as if it’s better that way. There was a time they were hanging out to have kids, I bet. Now they look like they’d like to throw them into my car. But I wouldn’t take them.
I guess that’s how I feel sometimes. Under a cloud. And it’s following me – so that I never can get into that light. But just sometimes – I’m pretty happy usually, and I’ve got what I need.
Traffic’s moving again, and I duck in front of the family in the four wheel drive and take off. It’s great weaving through cars in traffic. Like escaping the cloud. I guess that’s what everyone’s always trying to do – moving so fast and the such.
I just like driving fast, though.