The rubber sound of tires thudding over concrete joints plays a dozen tonne of arrhythmic heartbeat. Vassals in vessels pumping in discreet motility through the city. I soak in it and say nothing to the driver. ‘You just finished work,’ he says, no question, a roadside directive. I can only nod and make some throat based affirmative. ‘I’m going home too,’ he tells me. I want to picture his family, I want to believe there is love there, and comfort, waiting to be worn. We cross the bridge and the heartbeat subsides. ‘Soon,’ he says, a dense night’s sigh.
She slips her hand into my pants and lays a kiss against the corner of my mouth. The softness of her palms and all that I can think of are car wrecks and the awkward sweaty aftermath of fucking. Whispering now into my ear, broken glass and bent metal, nothing upon nothing, sweet and viscous. She tastes of vanilla. Below the belt ministrations, gravel rash and bruising. Her hands are giving me mixed signals. Stop, I tell her rising. Softly, stop, but she rolls onward, lays me flat and curbs my reservations. Let me drive this time, she says
The first time I died I was sixteen and learning to drive. I was getting good too. I tell myself now in the middle of the night that it wasn’t my fault and it’s probably true, though I’m not sure I believe it. I don’t remember much, just dad eternally dialing at the radio presets as though they might start broadcasting new stations if he came around one more time, and mum chattering in the back with one eye in the rearview mirror and the other on the neighbours lawn. I remember waking up and knowing things were different.