Through the Eyelids
Martin Hooijmans | Lars de Ruyter
You get in the car, memories of the evening swimming in and out of focus. You want to focus on them. Her parents get in the front seats, hit the ignition and drive off. Her mom makes a remark about how bad the weather is. Visibility is bad, snow flies around the windows. As they pull onto the highway, cars passing are a blur of light and color. Her dad decides to take it slow. We all agree. Better safe than sorry, her mom adds in her pleasant voice.
You look to your side, smiling. She smiles back and takes your hand in hers. It feels cold, yours feels warm. As always it’s your duty to warm her up. She puts her head on your shoulder. After a few minutes her breathing slows. You love it. You love her. The emotion triggers another set of memories begging you to let them come into focus. So you lean back and close your eyes. The world goes dark, but your eyes are still sensitive to the light of the passing cars. One passes and your eyelids glow a faint yellow. You drop into a gala you remember from a few years ago. Everyone adheres to the standards. Guys in black and white suits, girls in similarly colored dresses. You were never one for standards and showed up in a flaming red outfit. You remember looking more like a misplaced superhero. Many disapprove, others laugh. You couldn’t care less. All you care about is the girl in the bright yellow canary costume. You talk to her. She’s incredible. You dance with her. She’s as clumsy as you. You kiss her. She becomes one with you. You go onto the balcony and stare into her eyes for hours. No talking. No kissing. Just staring.
Your eyelids turn a flashing blue. In the far-off distance you hear a siren. You’re in a ferris wheel. Beneath you are the deafening sounds and blinding lights of the fair. She’s locked in your arms, pressing every bit of her body against you. She says it’s because she’s cold. You think it’s because she wants to be with you. You feel even warmer, but you still breathe out little clouds. She tries to catch them in her hands. She tells you it’s because she doesn’t want clouds to litter the clear sky. You look up at the stars and tell about the constellations, knowing it’s nothing new to her. She doesn’t look at the stars. She looks at you. You look back. She takes your breath away.
The car slows down. Bright red crawls under your eyes. Someone’s exhaust bangs loudly. You see the cork flying from the champagne bottle that’s in your hands. She rushes towards you. You sneak another peek at her beautiful red dress before she firmly presses her lips to yours. You both laugh. You remember the happiness. The two of you can take anything. Applause rises in the room. You’re getting married. You’re going to declare your love to the entire world. You forget about the champagne bottle and kiss her back. You forget about everything. Everything but her.
White fills up your eyelids. Its intensity increases by the second. You get a sense of worried voices in the front seat. You clearly hear the honk of the car. The voices start to panic. You open your eyes. She woke up. She looks at you. You look back. Tires screech. The car starts sliding. The inside fills up with screams. You’re silent. She’s silent. You only see her. The world goes silent. You squeeze her hand. It feels warmer now. She smiles. She’s not afraid.
You’re not afraid.