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Love is Life

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Driving fast down an empty, country road in the autumn twilight are a middle-aged man and his wife. In the cab of the worn-out truck lie a shroud of heated silence, the couple's eyes both focused on the road as they contemplate on who will speak first.

The man, sick of his wife's constant negativity and pessimism, is at his wit's end. He feels his wife is incapable of curbing her enthusiasm and the only possibility of finding peace of mind would be to leave her. He can't stand the thought of letting her ruin the rest of his life by making everyday miserable. He would leave, but they share a child he would do anything for; further entangling him in her web.

Across the seat she sits. Her face, prematurely wrinkled from an everlasting scowl, is lost in the world outside the window. She remains silent with that scowl on her face; a scowl that took a lifetime of bad luck to build.-- Gazing at the phantom mountains that stand behind the misty haze, she contemplates her situation as well as her past that led her to this point. She thinks of past aspirations that have long-since been deemed impossible. Feeling as though she settled; she constantly lashes out on her husband, blaming him for dragging her down. She wishes him gone, but whenever he obliges and tries to leave she bullies him into staying. Not out of love, but out of fear of being alone with a child.

As the road goes on, so does the subsided fury. The man's knuckles are now white from his aggravated grip of the steering wheel. The road seems endless as their voyage home continues. The man attempts to break the silence by turning on the radio but finds nothing except the crackle of static. The woman smirks at his attempt to relieve the awkwardness. "What is it you expect from me?", the man retorts wholeheartedly. "You do nothing to better yourself. You simply take what you get-- you strive for nothing", the woman sharply replies. "And you do?", the man asks with a mocking laugh. "I at least have the ambition to want to do something more", the woman says with a fiery pitch in her voice. "Don't blame your own failures on me", he says definitively, "you can leave anytime you want, no one's stopping you". Shuddering in defeat the woman returns to the world outside the window.

The man knows home approaches and the minutes gradually seem to become longer. He longs to be out of the car and away from his wife. His wife feels betrayed by the man she once loved; she feels as though she's given him everything and has received nothing in return.-- The all too familiar turnpike is just ahead, marking that home isn't more than five minutes away. As the man maneuvers the wheel, he feels the car starting to veer another direction. Time becomes slowed as the car seems to be taken over as the front right tire loses control. The uncontrollable momentum engulfs the whole right side of the time-beaten truck.-- Soon, all traction is lost as the truck begins sliding in the gravel of the shoulder.

The man awakens upside-down in an irrigation ditch. He screams for his wife, no answer. He panics; he quickly scurries out of the the overturned truck and rushes to the passenger side of the truck only to see his wife hanging from the seat and unresponsive. He furiously unstraps her and lays her on the ground. He screams and shakes her; nothing. He slaps her, praying for some kind of response; still nothing. He checks her pulse, nothing. Shocked, the man lingers over the body in disbelief. He sees not his wife, but rather the empty shell of what was a person. Unsure of what to do, he again attempts to futilely rouse her from the eternal slumber that is death.

His mind begins racing on what to do next, all those thoughts suddenly manifest themselves into his life with her. All the joyous and fun times they had are now beginning to bombard his head, not chronologically, but instead as a giant influx of mental photos he'd forgotten long ago. He then halts the siege and realizes the sudden opportunity that has risen. He tries to recapture those grand moments again but instead finds himself overwhelmed with memories of a spiteful, cold-hearted woman. A tear bubbles to the surface of his eye; not one of remorse or of grief, but one of disappointment. Disappointment in himself for not being able to find any sadness in his wife's passing. More tears come from disbelief, disbelief that the woman he's spent so much time and effort with had meant so little. Tears can't stop flowing as the man realizes he's the one who settled.



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