You both decide to cook dinner at home after the beach, and drive into town to pick up groceries.
As you’re driving, you reach down to your phone, and put on, “Across the Universe”, as arranged by Fiona Apple, and after listening to the words for a bit, she says,
“Are you trying to tell me something?”
You reply, smiling, but without looking at her,
“That was pretty good,” continuing to stare at the road ahead.
She’s a bit disappointed in your response to her joke, and you seem overly serious:
Looking at you, she now sees the person that she works with, with the strange addition of a ballad playing –
Nonetheless, she’s annoyed that you didn’t fully appreciate her joke.
After the song ends, you grab your phone again, and play, “Dig”, by Incubus:
She looks at you again, this time a bit suspicious, as her ex-boyfriend would always play that song while driving.
Now tan, built well, she can see your profile with an animal gaze into the road ahead –
She can see the lens above your pupil illuminated as the sun starts to set a bit behind the forest to the left, and as she looks from the top of your eye down to the bottom, she sees the lit up surface of the lens lift forward away from your eye, in the shape of a parabola.
You look like a machine:
An exaggerated representation of the person that she sees at work.
Then she continues to look down, seeing the tattered cloth around the shoulders of your shirt, and sees that you deliberately started with an already totally stupid thing, and consciously pushed it completely over the edge, by cutting off the sleeves –
She imagines the psychology at the moment of purchase, as you spotted it, at some horrible store, imagining you carefully selecting the right size, after an unreasonably hard day at work, and your sincere, quiet enjoyment upon finding, “the right one.”
She realizes that your ridiculousness could be something that you do automatically to distract from the fact that you’re simply not normal, sizing you down a bit.
Before the downbeat of the chorus, you take her hand and say,
“I think you should hold onto something,” and then roll up all of the windows.
Exactly on the downbeat, you lean into the gas pedal, staring into the visibly empty highway ahead, with the acceleration steady, but increasingly noticeable:
The sun receding further behind the forest that bounds the outer lanes of the highway, with shadows rapidly painting the interior of the car, she hears the engine roar, and she feels the entire frame of the car start to vibrate –
Breaking her introspection, again, as if you knew something that you couldn’t have known without looking first.
You look over to her, and because she’s smiling so much, you again lean into the gas, this time out of synch with the music, the same pattern repeating, only out of synch, creating some apprehension of a third –
The entire car at this point rocking from the combustion of the engine, she sees even the dials in the dashboard moving at unfamiliar speeds, producing noises inside the cabin, with the wind pounding against the windshield.
She sees the melted ice in her drink churning in the cupholder, occasionally spilling, but she is nonetheless not afraid at all, other than by the realization that she trusts you, perhaps too much –
You take her hand and squeeze it, as she finds additional comfort in your denim shorts, and bare feet below, seeing a simply ridiculous man, that seems to really love her –
Like a proper hillbilly that’s stolen a rich man’s identity, seeing your hairy legs covered in goosebumps, concluding that you are obviously sharing in her excitement.
You look at her just long enough to make sure that she’s alright, with her smiling back, terribly excited, neither of you saying anything at all, with everything now appearing overexposed from the low angle of the sun, as she sees only the outlines of an abstraction in you, in which she has quite plainly entrusted her personal safety –
You squeeze her hand again, she finds relief, and you turn back to the road, putting both your hands on the wheel, continuing at what is now an absurd velocity.
She focuses on the music, as the lyrics set into the context, she realizes that all of this says something that you couldn’t possibly otherwise articulate:
That you see nothing else in this world when she is with you –
That there are only two of you, with no obstacles, as your mind accelerates, with no inhibitions, other than her wellbeing, like a car roaring down an open road.
“Ida … “, staring forward.
“Yes … “, she replies, as if asking a question.
“Ida I love you.”