The uncertainty of elsewhere

August 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s of no consequence why it’s the woman who’s manoeuvring the car out into the traffic this morning, and not the man. It’s his car, though, and despite having driven it for oh, a thousand miles now, she’s still vaguely uncertain, as if the car’s power were only half-leashed – as if it might pull away at any moment, with her clinging to the steering wheel and praying to a god she doesn’t believe in for it to just stop.

The streets of the European city are unfamiliar, made more so by fencing for an event that closes off her route to her destination, a hotel car park at the other side of the city. Spectators throng around the car, unaware of her fear that the car might suddenly lurch or lunge to attack a pedestrian. As she’s edging forward the thought crosses her mind that she could always seek out not the difficult small streets that take her to the hotel, but instead opt for the blue signs indicating the motorway: wide open roads where the car could gallop, unfettered by corners or traffic lights, with her as rider, controlling it with the lightest touch of a whip or the merest tug on the reins.

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