The clouds were like tongues pouring a warm/cool song into the car windows. It was the time of day associated with getting out of school, ending a late track practice, driving home on the highway with rush hour traffic and having no idea what that means. The many-textured layers in the air of freedom.
I was driving home to my wife on our third year wedding anniversary. I left work early but didn’t ask my boss. I just left going the long way around the office to avoid walking by his door. He wouldn’t have cared. He’s a laid back guy who leaves early sometimes but I didn’t feel like making an explanation. I just wanted to leave.
The contrast between the gray right angles of my cubicle and the free associating fault lines outdoors, between the stale airs of other mouths at other desks and real air from a real sky, reawakened the deadened in me from the workday. My shortsighted gaze practiced all day on the computer screen and the headache from chemical lights. Set free from tasks and agendas prioritized by profit margins and variable fixed costs.
I drove through a neighborhood where we’d been wanting to buy a house. Suburban but not too suburban. A convenient through street walked by humans and their dogs and strollers. A middle aged man of about forty was riding a blue and orange kid’s bike with no kids around.
This was our last anniversary without children. Without fundamental commitments to anyone but each other. A new chapter was unfolding. I walked in the door, put my things down, and kissed her.