The sun begins to set and I take my dogs for a short drive. I never do this. Usually I make a reason to drive, but this time I don’t. The feeling I have reminds me of when I was thirteen years old and it felt good to stare out of a window. I remember feeling compelled to lay on my mattress which was parallel to the window sill, and I’d rest my chin there and stare out for a long time. Behind me were video games and Dungeons and Dragons books to look through, but staring out the window felt as satiating as sleeping in on Saturday morning.
Tonight I have that same desire, but every window in my house faces a shitty view. One faces a wall of bushes, another looks directly into my neighbors backyard, and two more face a carport littered with my neighbor’s yard sale junk that will never be sold or thrown away. My neighbors and I share property and live in separate houses adjacent to one another. The outside walls of our houses nearly touch at the corner. Nights like this I need more space.
I head out with my dogs, and I roll the window down to avoid their breath. I drive slow and avoid main streets. I stare out the window and I let my thoughts go unnoticed and unaltered. I drive in a long square to head back, and one stretch of road is a busier one with people coming home from work. A busy car speeds up behind me, and before I take my nearest right he hits the brakes, tailgates me, and speeds off when I make my turn. I look in my rearview mirror and see a short trail of cars following it.
Without self-pity I feel like a waste of space. An honestly objective waste of space. I think about the gas I’m wasting and the short moment of time I wasted for the other drivers. I genuinely consider the gas I wasted in breaking the momentum of their vehicles. I don’t feel guilt, I feel ethereal and even my physical presence seems to be a waste of space.
I look at Sunny, one of my two dogs. He’s an out of shape black lab that was mixed with something much smaller. He has a small muzzle and little beady black eyes that look like a teddy bear. His head is small and his torso is flabby and bloated. With his thin little legs, he reminds me of a tick.
Sunny presses his body against the back of the seat to hold his balance. He’d lay down but the middle seat buckle digs into his belly. He’d lay on the floor, but he likes to see. He’s having trouble coping with his physicality too, but his smile says that he is enjoying himself.
I get home, help the dogs out of the car, and hit my head on a nearby tree branch. It’s a thick unyielding limb, and it gives my head a dense bash. The thoughts I’m having suddenly contrast with the pain, and I feel stupid. It’s getting too dark for anyone to have seen me hit my head, but I still feel embarrassed. I sit back in the truck with the door open and hold my head. Everything I was thinking a second before seems dumb. I can’t tell if I’m just angry at the pain and judging myself through that emotion, or if there is something about the reality of the pain that makes me think whatever philosophical thought I was having was trivial and unrealistic.
I walk to my gate and let the dogs into my yard. They run through the dirt to a small patch of grass and take a piss. I look up at the first star in the sky. The only beautiful thing in this neighborhood is the sunsets that occur, with a touch of mountain range to the south west and dramatic silhouettes of cactus and electrical towers. The sky is a fierce orange, blue, and pink, like it is set on some magical fire. The star is white, and hovering in the first shade of dark blue. I pretend to make a wish on it, and wonder why answers are never given to me, and why questions are never replied to. I’m not above asking for a sign from universal forces, so I do. I wait in the silence and marvel at the gorgeous scene. Every shitty home is concealed in the shade of dusk and overwhelmed by the flaming sky. Soon, a loud generator turns on and it alarms the dogs in the neighborhood, and they sound off in a frenzy. The star is moving, and I realize it’s a satellite catching the blaring light from the sun. The pain in my head is gone, and I didn’t realize when it had passed.