The night was cool and there was a moist layer on the cars. He left the rehearsal space with nothing but his thoughts falling, stumbling and echoing around in his mind. They hit concrete floors in empty rooms, rattling their way into corners. Try as he might to catch the thoughts as they fell, he was unable. They were unpredictable and fragmented. They bounced around higgledy-piggledy like rubber pyramids might.
He had said good-bye to the actress for the night and she had kissed his cheek. He had seen, in her eyes, a look that he had seen before. He had captured this girl’s imagination. She was letting herself sink into a dream of the playwright and his female lead, forever together. But he didn’t want to see than in the eyes of the actress, he didn’t want to inspire her in such a way. All he wanted from her was to wear the dress of the one he’d lost and to keep him company when he couldn’t stand his own mind.
As he got in his car, one thought fell into his lap and he was able to stop it before it bounced off to clang around to room, causing more confusion. Such time was taken up driving. He followed the thought down its edges to its point and across the flat bottom of it. Hours upon hours of his life would be spent doing one thing, driving. Sitting behind a wheel, thinking, but having also to think about driving. He didn’t mind driving, it was actually peaceful if the roads weren’t busy, but it was the budgeting of time that bothered him.
He had become more aware of time, lately. Minutes of his life weren’t spent the way a child spends his coins so quickly on candy. He would consider activities more now before just deciding to do them. But all the consideration couldn’t slow down the minutes, or organize them neatly into their proper places. He couldn’t look at them in a table and actually budget them. He needed to instantly know when something was a waste and where to go and what to do to be productive, to use his time as much as he could, squeeze the most out of each minute that he had. Even the thought that went into doing this seemed like a poor usage of his time and he hated himself for it.
But to drive was a necessity, or at least to be driven, and he chose to have a good attitude about it. He would take up the time, as many people do, listening to music. Having a large catalog of music, it was hard for him to choose a particular song or artist that he really felt like listening to. Even when he had a feeling that he wanted to listen to a specific artist or music in a certain mood, he found it almost impossible to realize what it was. He would reach for it, the name, the sound, the melody, but never be able to touch it. He would, with his ears, look desperately for the song he wanted to hear, but it would always appear as a blurry mass in the distance, never able to be brought into focus.
So, he just put his music collection on random. He would listen to the songs as they came up, outside of his control. And this was where he found his concern, as he inevitably would. If he only had so many hours of life to be driving, however wasteful, and listening to music, shouldn’t he make sure not to squander that time on the wrong songs? The songs were still part of his favourites, part of his collection, among his choices, but they weren’t THE song or THE musical mood he truly wanted. Should he not be more decisive? Shouldn’t he realize what it was that he wanted and play it loudly and purposefully through his stereo?
Now his thoughts were bags of sand, they fell and stayed where they fell. They weren’t easy to lift, but it was easy to know where they were and what they were. He realized the actress was just another song on the random mix. She was pleasant enough, but she wasn’t the song he wanted to hear. She passed his time, but she didn’t pass it rightly. He knew who it was that he should be with. He knew who it was that he should have playing for everyone to hear as he rolled his windows down and cruised through the city on a hot summer’s day. But it was so hard to find her in his music mix. She was lost and he had forgotten what the title of the song was. So, was he willing to kill his precious minutes, his one dear life, with these lesser tunes?
There was only one girl that was worth his life seconds. If she were hours away, he would drive to her. He would listen to wrong song after wrong song and speed to her side. And those minutes wouldn’t be wasted because the driving would be pregnant with the destination and that destination would be worth everything.