I roll down the window and a gush of wind whirls at me, tossing my hair in fifty different directions. I shake my head and pick away every stray strand from my face. Once all cleared away, I am able to focus clearly on my view; the open road ahead of me and the beautiful scenery of continuing orchards stretching out-to what seems to be- infinity. A slight smile begins to form on my face when I realize that there are no cars ahead of me to block my view, no cars behind me to pressure me to press harder on my gas petal, no cars flying past me to distract my senses for a moment with the sound of their loud engines or the impact of wind hurling at the side of my face through my window.
I look down at my dusty radio and turn it up on full blast; my tiny blue celeca rattles with every bass tone, it feels like my seat is becoming a massage chair. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, not worrying about hitting the right notes, not worrying about singing the right words; just enjoying the freedom to make a fool out of myself as loud as possible.
The roads are straight and on going with occasional stops in between, allowing me to pause from my crazy antics and reflect on the beauty of this short freedom. The roads are so old and gravely that I think to myself that this ride might be the death of my low-rise car. Every pothole sounds like a part breaking off from under me, but I have no care in the world for the health of my car. I have no care for anything at all.
My foot on the gas starts to get closer and closer to floor as I keep going. The wind starts to rush in harder and colder; I look at my hands gripping the worn down wheel as I notice goose bumps forming on my arms in the corners of my eyes. That small chill starts traveling up my spine, and I begin to shiver it out. This feeling satisfies my exhilaration.
I turn off my radio, wanting to calm my mood for the quiet town I’m pulling into. The street is much narrower, and seems to be so gravely; it might just be rocks by now. My foot on the gas starts to rise back up as I take a slower glance at the faded old buildings on each side of me. I see a barber shop with that classic red, white, and blue barber’s pole mounted slightly crooked on the outside wall; a local, run-down grocery store named Al’s proudly selling all the fresh fruit outside in fragile green baskets; a few boutiques with out-of-date clothes presented in the dirty windows; and a small park with surprisingly green grass with dirt pathways presenting a small metal slide and monkey bars sitting in the middle, looking like no child has played on them in years. My thoughts begin to wander as I graze over this town, I think about the simplicity of it all. The people I see walking down the street didn’t have much to entertain themselves nor to inhabit, but they all have smiles and seem to know each person by the way their faces light up while passing by one another. How great-I thought.
I look ahead and see the narrow street split back into two lanes and form more road than gravel. The town disappears in my rear view mirror and the infinite orchards replace it again. The sun is on my left side, flashing like a faint strobe light, as it seems to be following me, peaking out between the gaps of the orchard lines. The sun strains my eyes each time it peaks out, distracting me from the road for a split second after another. I reach my arm behind me, keeping my eyes fixed on the road while my hand struggles for a moment to find the latch to open the middle compartment where my sunglasses are. My fingers hook onto them and fish them out and I quickly put them on. Everything is now tinted yellow. The sun is still flashing at me, but it’s hidden by the black fade on the edges of my glasses. I turn my radio back on, but on a quiet volume so that I can still hear my thoughts go on about the beautiful simplicity of that town. I’m not quite sure why I am so moved by it, but it lingers in my mind. The faint smile begins to form back on my face, but for a different reason. My passion for the freedom I have to get away from the stress of school, from the heartache of family, from the torment of peer pressure, is replaced by the gratitude of having the privilege to have it. Whether it is stress or heartache or family, I’m glad to feel it. I’m glad to feel. After that recollection I am able to feel every sensation while driving down this road. I feel the pressure in my leg from holding down the gas petal to the right position so that I’m not going too fast or too slow. I feel the tight grip I have on the steering wheel, and the warm pocket I created under my hands from resting in the same spot. I feel each strand of hair on my head move from the gush of wind. I feel the slight restraint of the seatbelt around my waist and shoulders, rubbing against my neck. I feel the warm touch each time the sun flashes at the left side of my face. The exhilaration of life is hitting me hard, and I don’t ever want to let it go.
A stop sign appears faintly in the distance; as I drive the words and colors become crisper, and I lift my foot completely off the gas and press down on the brakes. All of the sensations stops, and I’m left with the faint sound of my favorite music whispering in my ear. I’m a simple person- I thought. But simple is beautiful.