The Ride

A young man on the north end of town stops at the one and only red light before hitting the south bend. At the end of this bend he’ll encounter another light before hitting a major highway. After this he’ll be on his way and never look back at his hometown again.

When he stops, he starts to take a look around at the scenery. It’s bland and gray for the most part. Only a few vibrant things can be seen amidst the heavy downcast that seems to have painted the one and only road he can really take. Even though the roads around him seem to be vibrant with life and luxury, he has realized early on that his type of vehicle is simply not built for this their terrain.

If he were to take one of the rugged paths to the left his vehicle would get stuck, forcing him to call a wrecker to carry him to the bend; he would likely be asleep for the journey, never really waking up until the end. To his right, a neighborhood filled with the smoothest blacktop he has ever had the chance to hear about. There was only a few drawbacks to this path; one, he would have nothing but a hard time not feeling to the knots in his own wheels while driving on something so smooth, and two, others would notice these knots as well as he.

He knows at this point that there’s only the path that lies ahead. The red light, for the time being, is keeping him held at a white line, thin compared to the open road he’ll soon experience. His only real conflict past wondering how far away the next light is how fast he should really be going to get there.

As the light turns green, he decides to go at a steady pace, enjoying the scenery as he passes. It may be gray, but no matter how weathered it may look, he still sees those vibrant parts now and again, smiling as he passes.

The lamp posts, shining bright on those darker nights, the vibrant green grass on some of the lawns of people who care about themselves and want others to benefit from their beauty as well, and, of course, sometimes the road itself hits a patch that seems to be just right for the young man. It cradles the patches in his tires and helps him see that although his vehicle may not have been built for such a terrain as those to the left or right of the red light, this path is good enough to enjoy if given a chance or two.

As the path groans onward the young man’s vehicle sputters a bit, but it keeps moving. Those green lawns feel few and far between now, but he keeps going anyway. Although some of street lights flicker during the dark now, he presses onward. The patches in the road that used to comfort him seem to be growing shorter with the passage of time, but he keeps his drive steady.

The young man had never thought back at the red light that the good things would be growing shorter and shorter, and it’s because of this thought that he often wishes he could go back and start from that same red light again, wondering what results would be if he could have switched lanes or merged with other traffic in the beginning.

His thoughts stay on this for a long time, so much so that he forgets the times when he stopped to get new tires, filled up his tank with fresh gas, and even when he had gotten his car washed, looking as new as the day it came off the lot.

His thoughts stay caught up with the road that has passed, so much so that when he finally thinks back to the ride itself, his mind seems to wrap around nothing but the fact that there’s hardly anything good at all about it anymore.

He’s becoming envious of the trips others are having, and he wonders often why he should even keep going. All of these thoughts circle steadily in his mind; the negativity, the slamming on the brakes, and speeding up to much to race someone else to a nonexistent finish line. The young man has never thought that the finish line may be different for everyone.

The thought had never crossed his mind until he found himself wrapped around a tree, his vehicle totaled beyond repair, ‘Perhaps, I should’ve enjoyed my own journey while it lasts. Perhaps I shouldn’t have worried about all the others.’

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