CONCRETE ANGEL


 
      I remember the feeling. The conflict. The moment on the highway, staring at the cement median ahead, wrapped in weathered metal. Bright splotches of orange and reflective plastic gleamed with an angelic glow and soft whispers of a warning.
 
      "Stop" it says in a flirty way. The kind of way a girl pants 'stop' when resisting the urge to go further. A 'stop' that battles desire against will. A dishonest 'stop'.
 
      There's another voice, reminding me of the release promised at contact. Reminding me what lead me onto the highway in the first place. My wife, Lucy, didn't love me anymore. She said it was no one's fault. That she just couldn't admit to herself her true feelings and that it was inevitable that our marriage would fail. But I know what the real reason was. Every argument leading up to that point was littered with her version of truth.
 
That I was a failure. Broken. INADEQUATE.
 
     How does a man come back from that? What hope is there? I gave her 12 years of the deepest portions of my life, and all she saw when staring into my soul was INADEQUATE. Don't get it wrong, I could turn her toes inward and bring her to a gushing moan any time I tried, but she hated the vulnerability of it. It was poison to her... So, we stopped having sex. What else is there? Money. That damned green god promising her everything she ever wanted. Clothes. Cars. Happiness. She was committed to this idol... Her true husband. She couldn't have enough of him and I was the failure who couldn't give it to her.
 
      There's no competition when it comes to the green god. No one could meet her needs the way he could. He proved life was better as an object. So, I warped my humanity into something else. I became an object. A tool. A means to an end. A thing to be used and thrown away. Disposable. I was told I could be anything so I tried to be everything, and it only produced more heartache.
 
      I see the lines on the highway transition from perforated to solid bands, guiding travelers with an invisible wall away from the abrupt end ahead. The end I want. I let the car wander over, past their guiding intention. There's no pain outside the line. There's no buzz. No alarm. Nothing.
 
      That concrete angel, with it's wonderful glow, is approaching. My mouth sweats with the taste of metal. I'm so close to it. She could swallow my car whole, wrapped in an embrace of blood and oil. Just a little further and I can have her sweet darkness. And then, a third voice speaks to me. Gently. Calmly. With compassion. "The road doesn't have to end." It says. "Just take the exit."
 
      My hand rolls with the wheel, pulling back across the double stripe lines, passing the barrier seconds later. That angel of release now behind me and new roads ahead. 

 

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