When I drove home by myself for the first time in my life (I had just acquired my driver's license), and daylight faded and the road before me became a play of floating lights, I wasn't sure if my eyes were to blame (I was trying out new lenses) or if I had just never paid attention to how dark the darkness gets. Why did I never notice before that you can't see other cars, but only their gear- and headlights, disembodied like eyes in a cartoon closet? On second sight, even those lights lacked stability (flickering, double-imposed), and this seemed to get worse over time. Maybe my panic rose as my vision deteriorated, or maybe my vision deteriorated as my panic rose. I made sudden, rash decisions, changing lanes at the wrong time, and loud honking on various sides reminded me of the world of things that was hidden behind these appearances. But even in my panic things seemed unreal. Concreteness only returned when I stopped at a petrol station. I took a deep breath. Petrol and cow dung. The trucks lay asleep on the parking lot. The petrol station shone brightly, but it was closed. On the road I had temporarily escaped, a cone of light came by, followed by a car. I stared for a while at a line of trees behind the road, all standing still, before fields and fields that were just lying there, not moving at all.

© 2009–2023, Martijn Wallage