The Stoplight

He found both solace and torture in music.

There, were, of course, certain songs that he had shared with her that specifically breathed life into the memories he had been trying so violently to kill. So, he did the exact opposite of what would seem logical in this situation. Most people would avoid those songs that they had shared in such a situation but he dove head first into the deep end, trying to desensitize himself to times that the songs would bring up. This was the soundtrack to his heartbreak but he didn’t care. He wanted her purged from the folds of his brain so he could move on with his life. He had no other choice at this point since she acted like he no longer existed. Trading lacuna for lacuna, he trudged forward.

What he realized was, of course, he could listen to almost anything after a while without feeling as if she were sitting right there with him, especially when he was alone at night in his car. But one time out of a thousand her hands would grip his neck and a song would take him back to the place where here eyes would light up the darkest night. Then the dam of his eyelids would have to fight to hold back the overflow of water. Most would change the song but he couldn’t. He needed this, to get over this. This was his music first. It had been there before her and it would be there long after she was gone.

His car rolled to a stop. It had just rained, so the reflection of the red light made the soaked streets look like they were oozing incandescent red blood cells. His eyes were too focused on waiting for the light to change and his mind too wrapped up in the music to notice his newest passenger.

“Why do you do this to yourself?” The ghost from the park was in his passenger seat, facing forward and lightly bobbing her head to the song on the stereo.

He jumped and slammed himself up against the door, bumping his head against the window as if he could somehow permeate the steel and glass. Actually opening the door hadn’t really occurred to him.

“How’d you get in my car?” He stared intently, waiting for her to turn and show him glowing eyes and then evanesce into the ether somewhere.

She didn’t say anything. She simply reached for the door handle and opened it. “You left the door unlocked.” She pulled it shut again. “You didn’t answer my question,” she said as the track changed to another tune to which she felt she could move herself to in the tiny space of the passenger seat.

He was slightly put off by this but he pulled himself back into the regular seated position he had been in previous and then just stared at the center of the steering wheel. Or maybe he stared through it. He looked up to see the light was still red.

“I can’t let her take this part of me with her. This music is what keeps me together on days when nothing else can. She already took my heart and broke it. I can’t have her take this and misuse it too. This music is mine.”

She nodded her head. She seemed to understand better than most. This seemed to be the running theme in their conversations and his curiosity was piqued but she seemed relatively unattached, as if she were just there incidentally. He wondered who she was and why she kept showing up in the strangest of places.

The light was still red.

“Music is like that for a lot of people. She’ll take it regardless and she’ll think of you whenever she hears it. Whether or not that’s a good or bad thing is a question you may never get the answer to. But keep fighting, crusader. You seem to be doing much better than when we first met, much calmer and with thoughts more directed and even a little happier. Keep going. You’ll get your question answered.” She picked at her nails then patted him on the thigh.

“What question are you talking about?” He turned to look at her as she reached for the door handle and pushed the door open.

“Aliquid stat pro aliquo…” She shut the door before he could ask her what she meant.

Then he heard a horn beeping behind him. The light had turned green.

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