open-road

There is a stretch of road, not far from here, that lazily sweeps round one way and then uncurls the other way like snaking hips. The road surface is good, smooth gun metal tarmac, and the carriageway in each direction is wide enough for two side by side. It always seems underused, a grey lungful of fresh air between two stretches of slower road. The sun sets and rises along its length and a gentle camber eases its slicing path through the gently undulating countryside.

Seeing the open road ahead, I gather up my reins in anticipation, harnessing the power. I open up the engine, pushing my foot further and further to the floor until, at the perfectly sweet moment, I change gear and the car starts to fly, fly. I ask for yet more power and the hindquarters sit down onto the tarmac, and I sink into my seat, the wide tyres furiously pounding the road. I am no longer aware of a separation between me and the car, and the adrenalin released by the speed shuts out everything on the periphery until the road ahead and the few cars to be consumed are the only distractions. The engine gives more and more, until we hit the top, always at roughly the same place. I am in awe of this machine, of the acceleration that flows like oily cream, unleashing its reservoir of potency. The road and the car and I are fused and, like the Princess and the Pea, every small inperfection in the surface runs up to my fingers. Utter joy. Alone, in charge. Then, smiling without wanting to, sated, I take my foot off the pedal, and allow the car’s resistance to slow itself down until, just as we arrive at the end of this beatiful stretch of road, the speed has fallen to a permissible level and we take our place behind all the others, waiting our turn.

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