She said, child, you may know a thing or two one day, but that won’t be anytime soon, so you will have to muddle through. For now, it’s going to be like driving in a rainstorm in the dark, when all you can see is the tiny patch of blur lit by the headlights, and no taillights to guide you, and the actual road will be poorly marked or not at all.
She said, child, I want you to know this, so that you will not be taken by surprise and swerve offroad. But of course, we are always in a state of disbelief, because who can resist keeping company with the secret hope that driving a dream would be an adventure story? This is not necessarily untrue, but most of us get the genre wrong.
When you’re raised on those feel-good films that validate the trope of the noble quest, with anthem music and sidekicks and breaks for humor, when the going gets rough, it can be disconcerting to realize that you’re actually in a David Lynch film with a blue filter and the sort of musical score designed to remind you––not that you need it––that something is a little off but you won’t be able to put your finger on it and there isn’t any chance of it letting up.
But this is what she told me, child; she said, Listen. When it gets like that, and you are driving in the dark and the weather and the unmarked roads say go back, only then can you know you are getting somewhere. It isn’t like any of the places you’ve seen before, I promise you, but keep going.
There will be others coming, child, more frightened and uncertain than you are now, and when they find the glow of your taillights before them, they will suddenly remember to breathe. They will think, Okay, and hang on.
An audio version of this piece is now on YouTube.
6 thoughts on “Driving Directions”
This is beautiful.
Jeff, thank you for this.
As I read, I hear your voice and I am your captive audience. I hang on to every word as if I am the child clinging to your arm to see where your voice will take me. I feel independent and free, not anxious or afraid, because your voice is so calming. I know we can venture through the dark together and come out in the sunlight. I love this.
Reading this surprise gift with wet eyes, Brandy. Thank you.
What an amazing piece. Just want to keep rereading and soaking in the words.
Miles, thank you for this kind and timely comment. Sending you my best.