Just Shelley

Night driving

I left late yesterday, with the day already ending; tired and numb from the trip. The traffic was light, scattered along the road like crumbs on a path to follow.

In my rearview mirror, I spotted them first: a line of semis approaching me fast. I’d seen this before–a series of trucks moving as one, with road cleared of trouble ahead. Normally I would pull to the left and wait for them to pass. This time, though, I waited a break and popped my little car into the queue.

Into the night, over hills, and around corners a line of nine semis broke the night and the law. Nine large trucks moved as one from lane to lane, passing this slower car and that; nine semis, and one little Ford Focus.

It was a ballet of wheels and motion as the leader would pull out into the passing lane and then the truck behind him, and the next, and the next. The truck ahead of me was metallic with orange lights at the top, and ahead of him, a large moving van, and ahead of him, dark green with black writing, I think. Behind me rode a plain white truck, no markings to see, and behind it was darkness, it was the end of the line.

We drove to the west as the sun began to set, a bright orange ball that burned the prairie around us. Past fields fill of cicada whose sound echoed behind; past other cars who quickly pulled to the left, intimidated by nine determined semis, traveling all in a line. Nine semis, and one Ford Focus.

Through the rosy glow a line of lights spaced just so. I wondered if the semis resented my intrusion, this little golden bug among great gods of steel. But they gave me my space, and waited my move in the chorus we played, as we weaved and we waved, and I think they must have thought me cute – a mascot, perhaps.

Finally the ride tired and I wanted the peace of the night and I pulled over one more time to the left. The white truck behind me hesitated, as if in encouragement, but then with a shift of gears, waiting no man or woman, it leaped into the space and pulled ahead. I watched then as nine sets of red lights, all in a row, wound itself into the night and vanished from view.

I am going to make a poem out of this, you wait and see: the ride into the night of nine big trucks; nine semis and one little Ford Focus.

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