Summer In Australia

Feel it. Hands on the wheel, bare feet sometimes pressing on the accelerator and sometimes nudging the brake. You ask Siri to shuffle your songs and commit to going with the flow no matter what she lines up. The highway stretches before you, mostly empty because you left midmorning on a weekday. You have four days ahead filled with hope and opportunity – you’re going to see most of the people who matter the most to you and some of the music that does too. You feel like you’re soaring.

You associate good things with John Mayer – you dig how you heard him explain the power of the phrase ‘I’d like that’ one time as being that which starts the most heady, intense love affairs. You used to listen to him and eat Tiny Teddies when you had bad days in high school. He seems like a chill guy. You like that Siri lines him up.

There’s so much roadkill on either side of the road and you know to be careful of kangaroos and wombats but lizards… you give them more credit than they deserve. When one darts out in front of you, senses you, and flattens itself against the warming road you assume it made it to rest in the space between your wheels. Not so. The sickening crunch silences you into forlorn despair and you can scarcely breathe in knowing that you killed a living thing and there’s no way to take it back or atone for it.

John Mayer keeps on, smooth voice against intricate guitar, and you know you’ll forever associate him with the moment you lost your innocence on a highway leading north. With blood on your hands, you wait it out until the song changes. You hope this doesn’t make you a bad person or worse, a bad driver. And you’re a little angry at the lizard for not staying off the road.

You guess that sometimes things happen that seem like they’re beyond your control just when you’re feeling at ease and in control. And you’re kind of glad that it wasn’t a kangaroo or a wombat. And you hope that if you write about it, admit to it, ‘fess up, you’ll know to do better next time.

Two or three weeks ago you were walking home from work up the hill and on the road that led to your house. You breathed in and out and in again at the precise moment that a fly was buzzing near your mouth. You accidentally swallowed the fly. It was traumatic. Between the fly and the lizard, you’d like to issue an apology to the animal kingdom. And you wish they would stay off the road.

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