Journey home

[ About the short story]
Oh come on, man, move it. She drummed her fingers impatiently on the steering wheel. As soon as the mercury dropped below five, these people slowed down to a funeral pace. Like lizards. Needing heat to get anything done.
She just couldn't relate to that. Life was too short to take it easy. That's why god gave us speeding lanes. To sail past these bumbling pussyfoots, unless, of course, said pussyfeet decided to highjack her left lane. She mentally willed the driver in front to push down on the gas. Darling, this truck is barely making ninety, how long can it take you to pass it?
She snatched up her phone. Almost eight. The meeting had been endless. She really hoped Kas had gotten his ass up from the couch and started on the dinner. Not that he couldn't be bothered lately. Since he had moved in with them, his oh-so-attractive power had morphed into a nerve-racking lethargy. From in action to inaction. Just like this guy in front of her. In the last ten seconds, he had barely advanced five picometers past the truck.
It must be something in the water, this decided lack of testosterone. She should have gone straight to the music school to pick up Tash. But then she would have had to sit around in the parking lot for half an hour, just wasting precious time. Besides, she had promised Kas to help with his tax return. And this diddly radio music was distinctly annoying. Why was everyone just so slow? She hit a button on the console. Deees-pacito! Hm. Much better.
Come to think of it, she could send him the word document that she had prepared to explain which expenses could be claimed by independents in Luxembourg. That way, he could already get started on it. Her hand grabbed towards the right. What had she done with her phone? With a sigh, she snatched her bag from the seat and rummaged through it. Where the hell... oh, there it was on the seat after all. Must have slipped under the bag. And the driver in front of her had just decided it was a nice idea to activate the right blinker. Sweet. He wanted to let her know that he was ready to free the lane for her. What a darling.
Shooshing him on his way, she opened whatsapp. While she was at it, better remind him of that promised stew, too.
"tax do tjis" she typed, and smiled. Kas hated it when she used her phone in the car. Too bad, couldn't be helped now. She hated the way he kept procrastinating on this, tonight they would get this done, come hell or high water. She selected the word file, added "amd food hungry" and hit enter. Done. Throwing the phone on the seat, she relaxed. She'd be home in half an hour.
Humming along to the song, both hands on the steering wheel and her focus one hundred percent back on the road, she banned all thoughts of to-do lists out of her head.
What was that idiot trying to... woh, tail lights, too close. She threw the steering around and her guts sloshed into her ribcage. Woaaahh... woaw. Fu--
She took a deep breath. Slowly. In. Out. That felt ... good.
Phew. All easy. Straight road, smooth driving, no problem. Just don't look back and focus on the road ahead.
She laughed. A relieved, bubbly giggle, with a metallic taste of spittle rising up in her throat. Phew. Quiero desnudarte a besos despacito. She smiled. A wonderful warm feeling spread through her lap. Making love, slowly, sensuously, for hours. Suddenly, she longed for Kas' strong arms and his firm demanding hands. Wasn't that why they had moved in together in the first place? To have more time for lovemaking? Who cared about tax returns. If the government wanted money, they just had to come ask for it.
Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto. This song seemed to be going on forever. Not that she minded. They should go on a holiday again. Making love in the sand all night long, looking up at the moon, the stars and, endlessly, into each other's eyes. The meaning of life, right there. Portugal. She'd never been to Portugal. Australia, yes, Brazil, sure, India, been there done that. But Portugal was right here at her doorstep, and yet she had never cared to visit. They say the Algarve is lovely in May. All the flowers in bloom. They would go and find out. Tash would be delighted to have the house for herself for a week. Life's too short.
She should message Tash, let her know that something had come up and that she needed to take the bus home. Then again, last week she had been at the school to pick up Tash, only to have her teenage daughter running past the car, in animated conversation with her friends, discussing cellos and boys and sprinting for the bus. She hadn't even seen her.
For a second, there was a deep, tight pain in her chest, like a metal shard piercing through her heart. Her baby didn't need her. But then the ache dissolved and made way for an airy breeze. She didn't need her anymore, they were both free to live, and love, and laugh. How wonderful was that?
She relaxed some more, gazing dreamily over the neverending stretch of tarmac in front of her. An endless road to be explored. There was so much in the world to see and learn, instead of doing time in dreary business meetings. Deep down, she had always known that. Only yesterday, Dan had offered her a promotion and instead of jumping at her boss' neck in joy, she had promised to think about it. What was there to think about? A better job meant more hours to put in, more things to worry about. She would refuse the offer, and instead ask to work part time. And make that two weeks in Portugal, instead of one.
She had always wanted to learn how to sail. If she remembered well, Kas' parents owned a boat, back in his native Sweden. So her lovethrob probably knew his way around deck and could show her the ropes. Done deal: they'd rent a boat in Faro and sail down to Morocco. That would be such an adventure!
Is this the real life, is this just fantasy? She smiled. Spot on, Freddie, as always. She hadn't even noticed that Despacito had ended.
She couldn't help giggling. A big warm salty drop clouded her vision. So happy she barely couldn't breathe. Life is good. Always. One hundred percent. Because the alternative sure isn't. So don't waste it all by worrying, especially not about other people's stuff. Because more often than not, they're not even that bothered about it themselves. Open your eyes, look up to the sky. The light you see took millions of years travelling the vast swathes of space, tiny photons determinedly speeding through the darkness, millennia upon millennia, so that after an eternity of nothingness, they can hurl themselves kamikaze style upon your retina, touching a nerve, proudly revealing to you the age-old beauty of their long lost home, just so that, for a second, you can feel happy and at peace. If that doesn't make you special, I don't know what will.
I'm just a poor girl, I need no sympathy. She raised her eyebrows. Oh. This wasn't Queen after all, this was Montserrat Caballé singing a requiem. Just as well. She listened and smiled, her eyes firmly on the road in front of her. All was good. There was still so much to explore. You know what they say: it ain't over ...