I’m sitting at a red light falling in love. She’s cute and small and dark and young. She would have to be young for this brand of romance. I can’t see much of her past the headrest; what’s more, the glare off my windshield and the tint of her back window filters somewhat her evident charm, but when she turns her head just so, as if looking at the other driver’s knee, I can see just enough. And smart! A brilliant browline crowns a clear and deepset eye of sparkling darkness. Love at a distance is young love, yes, not to say immature love, enamorament of youthfulness, maybe, love of the young as young. I’ve fallen hard for women of more commensurate age, but from nearer, with fewer panes intermediate, close enough for our breaths to mingle, near enough for tongues to snap like wit. That doesn’t make it better. She doesn’t know I’m watching her, but I will catch her eye when I pass alongside, if this maddening traffic permits. And there will be still more to do to make her mine, besides eliminating the other driver. He barely appreciates her, but even if he does willingly relinquish her to me, she may still not readily abandon the familiarity of his spongy front seat for my firmly upholstered one. She has so much to learn. Green light. As our cars pull even, a turn of her head complicates our courtship. I can’t fully possess her without at least a profile and some acknowledgment from her that I am not alone in love. Stunningly, the other driver, by her face, is a woman, and a brilliant, compassionate woman at that; her passenger, when she finally turns toward me, the most magnificent springer spaniel, purebred of champions, aged approximately three.

Copyright © February 10, 2000 David Hodges