He had been driving steadily for four hours but the journey hadn’t been exhausting. In fact, he felt it was cathartic. He’d needed to drive aimlessly, without stopping, with only the sound of the tyres on the road. He felt a groan in his stomach and realised it had been a while since he’d eaten; the car needed filling up anyway, so he stopped at the next roadside cafe with a pump. It was still warm enough to leave the car with only his shirt sleeves but there was definitely a new chill in the air. Autumn was on its way. The road looked so beautiful at this time of year, the fallen burnt-out leaves lying by the side and the dark sky glowing.He got back in to the car and set off again with no real idea of where he was heading. He’d never done this before, always being a pragmatic man who got from A to B. But this evening he felt the need to wonder, to sort things through.
Johnny had been his closest friend from his early years at school. They’d lost touch as they grew older and life became busy, but as things began to settle down again, they had time to renew their friendship. He had driven out to Johnny reliably over the last few years, every three months. Within the last couple of visits he had noticed a decline in Johnny’s health. He had found it harder to push himself up to make the coffee and his greeting hugs seemed weaker. It was today that Johnny revealed he had a terminal illness.
So the need to drive was a need to reflect. To reflect on Johnny’s life, on Johnny’s age. To reflect on his own life, always pragmatic, always busy. But this evening was his chance to realise how beautiful the road looked at this time of year, the fallen burnt out leaves lying by the side and the dark sky glowing. Driving with only the sound of the tyres on the road and the space to take it all in.