Ends, Undetermined

Today I drive while the boy sleeps, sunlight, golden, slanting into the car, and I think of paintings I have loved, the ones with the long horizon lines, roads that stretch off into distances, how I love the possibility in those paintings, their ends, undetermined.

And because I don’t want to wake him, the boy with the blue blanket pulled to his chin, I keep on driving past the exit to our house, mile after mile in that sunlight, keep thinking too, wondering why in paintings of open roads I like possibilities and unknown destinations and nearly every way else I want to know, want the known, cannot lean into the uncertainties the way the car leans into these curves.

“There should be rules for these things,” I tell a friend over drinks on a dimly lit bar patio. It’s just past dark and his dog is sleeping under the table, the outdoor fireplace breathing wood smoke into my hair. When it spits off sparks, it smells like summer nights and campfires and storytelling, like something simpler.

“But there aren’t,” he says, and it’s true, no rules for the ways we learn to build connections with other people, no rules for how we learn to find in them horizon points and destinations, no rules for the way some are detours in the middle of construction season, alternate paths we are forced to but never choose to take.

This highway, the one beneath the wheels of my car, has, at clearly marked and pre-determined intervals, exits, will warn you of them when you get close, warn you too in advance of its end, and I love the highway for this, love too the boy sleeping in the back, love even those even lines edging the sides of the lane I follow while he sleeps. I understand the rules here.

Still, I think too of what it would be like to let myself love people the way I love those paintings, even if there are no rules for how some are the way home and others just roads we drive through without stopping.

No rules. No way at all to know in the beginning how it might turn out, yet still, like those paintings, love them anyway.

See them as possibility. Not just end, as of yet undetermined.

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