The Other Kind of Road Rage
(A short, story story)
Copyright © 2017 by Judie Lynne / JC
All short stories are the work of fiction, Names, characters, places, and scenarios is the result of the author’s imagination and used for fictional purposes. Any resemblance to actual people (living or dead), places is purely coincidental.
Final version. A draft version can be read here.
Thanks for reading. 🙂
A DIFFERENT KIND OF ROAD RAGE
A robust desire is in progress, to initiate a progressive plan for divine restoration. Peace, by way of serendipity, is a wonder for the consciousness. Stella has been in great need to pursue such restoration. There’s a lot of mush in her mind, and it needs de-cluttering. It was recommended by her closest friends that she take a road trip to clear her mind.
Stella capitalizes on these ideas and packs the essentials, with the hauntings of the
what-ifs beginning to afflict her. By late evening, a cup of chamomile tea and a good book is warranted, to scare away the hauntings by becoming lost in another person’s chronicle. Mildly irked by the flaps of the eye’s stubbornness to remain light in weight, she reads a few sentences over, and again, so her mind can stay in pace with the story. Finally, she resorts to the bolshie demeanor of the eyelids, and fell asleep losing her place in page. By the time she reopened her eyes, there was a dim lit sky. Stella thought that was a good time to explore her spiritual dynamic.
Stella is two hours into her healing expedition, and a long line of grey cement and an assemblage of vibrant and lush foliage greet her. The indigo sky she woke up to is now placated with lightened hues of blues and greys. The scenery welcomes her like an old friend, along with the pre-selected playlist of soothing piano music. Scarlett’s Walk was deemed as the chosen winner. Clouds emerge to its melodies, and they seem to drift along its majestic delights. Stella was always intrigued with the chords of piano, as it encompasses both melancholy and idyllic attributes. While Stella’s focus remained on the road, she couldn’t help but be caught in a momentary period of serene enchantment. When it comes to auditory rapture, she favors the piano, because it can be interpreted different ways, even without lyrics.
The road to nowhere continued, and so did Stella’s thoughts. The most noticeable color is red, and her mind transcends toward the realm of obscurities.
That time she dyed her hair. She went from dark brown to strawberry red, and her boyfriend didn’t approve. A big fight ensued, all because he was lost in a delusional state and insisted she was a different person. Stella assumed most men like that sort of change, but he turned out to be the exception. He became irate over a change in hair color. Red. Red flag. Stella should have known then that moment was a red flag, but she stayed in the relationship unconvinced there was no other match for her.
Red. The color of blood when exposed to air. Stella wondered about blood as her mother suffered from internal bleeding. Flashbacks of her mother lying on the floor when she came home from school one day. The expression on her father’s face the moment he saw his spiritual better half on the floor is etched in Stella’s mind forever. Recollections of a dreary hospital setting and “Code Red” blaring on the loudspeakers was mindfully on repeat, and visions of doctors and nurses that rushed to her mother’s hospital room because the patient went under cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead.
Red. The red lipstick the mortician applied on her mother. The color of eternal, otherworldly peace. The mortician did good enough work to appear she was sleeping; lips were full, the hair tightly curled with a bit of silver, and the skin looked smooth like the texture of cold cream. Stella wanted to hold her hand and feel a squeeze in return. That never happened, because she is gone. Red and dead.
Orange. Orange is also amok. Orange, as in the “Orange One,” a moniker that is responsible for the brutal schisms happening everywhere in the social media realm. The “Orange One,” a tireless and mundane precept used by comedians everywhere as if it will propel them to instant fame. The comedians she favored emitted jokes that morphed into a potpourri of picayune cackling, and no longer found them funny. The divide that took over the social newsfeed was not informative in the slightest, but saw them as signs of a rancor way of thinking. Rows of posts surfaced with photoshopped memes to advance the message of the perpetuater. Stella finds herself in disbelief that she associates with people like this, and a mass purging of the friend list soon followed.
Orange. That horrible acidic fruit with the intrusive odor. She can smell them just by thinking about it, and the very thought has made her queasy. She pulls over to do a mass purge of her own.
Green, the dominant color. Also, the color of money, and that she has none of it. Large portions of money have already been designated to pay back student loans. A constant worry since graduating from college, the recent job loss makes the payback more challenging. She shakes her head in disbelief, and the eyes become blurry with dejected fluidity.
Disappointment looms toward her confidantes for suggesting such things like a car run as the recollections of hard times and bad memories came to sudden fruition. She wondered how could this be possibly therapeutic if she is under constant attack by ugly ruminations. She sustained a mental road age, as if the mind wanted to focus on nothing except for the long line of cement and surrounding tinges of melancholy. The hues were the assailants in every direction, reminding her of memories she had deeply stored away. A bit of color was enough to accuse her of wrongdoing; to serve as a reminder of an invented persona of superiority; to shatter her mind with memories of her dead mother, a horrible fight with her ex-boyfriend, and an alarming collective of sheepish demeanors on her social media feed. The weapon of choice lies within the pigment of the slumbering leaves.
After the bodily purge, Stella walks around to the back of the car and reaches for her suitcase. She finds a washcloth and bottled water, which she uses to clean off any remnants. She takes in a deep inhale and discharges any toxins she might have incurred.
Stella thought it would be best not to antagonize the mental road rage further, so she decides to return home. She selects another playlist, this time something techno with some heavy bass. Skrillex. That’s about as good as it’s going to get, as any song played by this artist is the best depiction of her brain right now: loud, noisy, and confusing.
An hour and a half into the drive, and not too far from home, Stella settles on a break. The clouds gently glide along the sun, and she takes advantage of the sporadic warmth and parks her car on the shoulder. Beyond the shoulder is a huge lake catching the sparkles of the sun. Her plan is to stay for just a few minutes, just long enough to stretch her limbs and enamor the small talk of the cool, intermittent breeze.
After ten minutes, she returns to the car, and on her way, she notices a fluttering leaf dancing along with the breeze. She takes notice of the leaf as it inches closer, and is immersed in a sentimental gaze. It finally lands on a small rock situated with a family of nature’s stonework and tall vegetation. Stella initiates a descend toward the earth to take a closer look, and sees two long black threads protruding from the front. It was a Monarch butterfly, the police to her mental road rage.
She whispers, as to not startle the tiny creature, “Hey, little one. You must be on your way to Mexico.”
The whisper was enough to startle the creature, and it flew away far off into the grey blue skies toward the sun.
Stella saw this as a spiritual sign to denote things have a way of working out in the end. She thanks the butterfly in silence for policing her own road rage, and says a brief and silent prayer that the butterfly reaches its warm housing for the winter. Stella was satisfied with this contentment and proceeded back home.
That night, as Stella was settling for the night, she had thought about the butterfly. It’s been said that butterflies are the beloved souls of the deceased. If that’s true, her mom made an appearance earlier that day. Stella was comforted by the very thought her mom was in disguise and came to her in a troublesome moment. Each tiny flutter relayed these ponderings: Don’t be afraid of the beauty that surrounds you. Don’t turn the good into bad. Don’t succumb to the dangers of this road rage, for it is a waste in time and energy. There are no winners, you gain nothing but sorrow. With these notes of serenity, Stella’s eyelids fluttered in the way of the butterfly, and fell asleep.