Nighttime Drive

The highway cut straight through the hilly landscape, stretching out to the horizon. Though it wasn’t yet very late — the asphalt was still cooling after a day of summer sun — the eastbound lane was almost clear of traffic.

I accelerated up to the speed limit and set cruise control. I was in no hurry, so long as I reached my destination before sunrise. The little monitor showed my fuel consumption and estimated range, and everything looked good. All I had to do was drive.

Farmland became forest as I drove. Forest, in turn, gave way to more farmland. I drove past barns, grain silos, houses with a single window still lit up. Families I would never meet; our lives only joined by a ray of light in the darkness.

Headlights appeared in the distance ahead of me, and taillights faded in the rear-view. I was as ephemeral to these other people as they were to me. Why were they traveling towards a place that I only ever wanted to escape? Perhaps, like me, they never really had a choice.

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