It is a dreary morning, the colour is sepia. I am sitting in my car, waiting on the stop sign and looking at other cars moving past, the tempo is in slow motion. The car in front of me moves forward a fraction of a millimetre. I let my clutch loose for half a second and follow, an allusion to motion. The tired whizz of the wipers throws me deeper in the trance I’m in.
Dreary faces look straight ahead, through the fat raindrops that splatter the windshields. They look ahead, eyes unflinching, mouths yawning. Boredom is the predominant mood. But one is different. One face looks sideways, right at me. I am startled. I snap out of my daze and focus. He is nodding. Why? I stare back at him for a long second or two passing his face through the archive files of people I know or once knew; I decide that I do not know him.
He nods again more urgently. Then realization hits me along with the sound of the lightning bolt that fires and lights the sky up above. He is inviting me to enter the queue in front of him. I smile brightly, blink away tears of joy. I show my deep gratitude with a zealous wave, as I ease my clutch and my car moves, eager to complete the mission ahead.
I am in my spot. I settle. I look tentatively at my knight through the rear-view mirror. Our eyes meet. He smiles. I smile back – with my eyes – he cannot see my lips. Our faces are afire in the red glow of the traffic light ahead. Fuzzy emotions soar deep within, gratitude and admiration. I needed assistance and he came through. Of all the faces that ignored me, he let me pass. He gave up his spot for me.
The cars crawl forward, inches closer to their various end destinations.
I look again, eager to meet his eyes. But he isn’t looking. I stare at his reflection – waiting to catch his glance. Nothing. The lights turn to amber. I look again. Our eyes meet. He isn’t smiling. I pout.
The lights turn to cold unfeeling green. My attention is caught with what’s in front of me. Space. Movement. Purpose.
I look back through the mirror. Strange eyes look back at me. He is gone.