Learning to drive; a short story for "A Contest of Firsts" entry
|Life has a habit of weighing heavily on my shoulders these days; making ends meet often means working myself to the bone. I feel like that Greek guy, Atlas? The one who pushes the rock up the hill only to watch it roll down again. The legend says that he gets pleasure in seeing the rock roll down the hill. It seems we are all happy to be little hamsters running furiously on our impotent little wheels, so long as we get even the slightest pleasure from seeing it go round.
When I start feeling like the hamster wheel is getting to be too much, I get in my car and drive. That is my small pleasure; leaving all my worries and endless duties behind and driving... to nowhere. When we'd ask my dad where he was going, he'd say "there and back to see how far it is". This annoyed me no end when I was in school, but now, I get it.
That makes me think of the day I learned to drive. Sitting behind the wheel, feeling over whelmed and confused by all the buttons and levers that needed coercing at the same time, I was frightened but determined. My mom asked, "Where do you want to go, sweetie?" And snarky as ever, I replied, "there and back, to see how far it is".
Now, I feel the power of the engine surge beneath me as I ease the gear into 5th. The speed increases steadily and the green hills alongside the road fade into a blur. All I need to focus on is keeping the car in my lane. My mother is suddenly next to me, "where do you want to go, sweetie?" She asks. I can't help the tears that well in my eyes. My mother passed away a few years after teaching me to drive. "There and back, mom."